Age-bitashi of Jakoten and Taro

30Oct10

This is an example of unsophisticated home-cooking that makes up for its lack of visual pizzaz with wonderful flavor and texture. Age-bitashi is a dish in which the main ingredients have been deep-fried, then soaked in a flavorful broth. The main ingredients of this particular Age-bitashi are Jakoten (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakoten) and Sato-imo (taro) which are plentiful at this time of year. If you can’t get hold of Jakoten, any fish paste product will probably do. though it will lack the particular texture of Jakoten.

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

Jakoten…….6 blocks (defrost if frozen), cut each block in half

Sato-imo…..1 bag of frozen, peeled sato-imo (300 grams ~450 grams)

Tsuyu (bottled soup base for Japanese-style noodles)….2/3 cup

Takanotsume (Japanese chile pepper)…..1, seeds removed

Cooking oil

Directions:

1. Bring 2/3 cup tsuyu and 2/3 cup water to boil in pot. Simmer the frozen sato-imo in this until tender, but still firm. Then take out the sato-imo and gently remove excess moisture with paper towels. Put the takanotsume (chile pepper) in the remaining broth and simmer for several minutes. Turn off heat and let sit.

2. Deep fry the jakoten halves and the sato-imo in hot oil until they are slightly brown and crispy on the outside. Then remove them to paper towels to drain off excess oil.

3.  While the jakoten and sato-imo are still hot, place them gently into the pot of broth from step 1, and let them soak up the flavors of the broth as they cool (about fifteen minutes). Arrange them on a serving dish and pour the broth over the top, garnishing with a piece of the takanotsume.

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