All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Iridori / chikuzen-ni / braised chicken with root vegetables

A classic chicken and root vegetable dish. The softly sweet and salty taste makes it a great companion for plain rice and drinks. It is also a popular osechi dish for the New Year, and is great for bento and picnics.

1/2 of recipe:
213 calories; 12.8 g protein; 11.0 g fat; 14.7 g carbohydrate; 10.8 g net carbs; 243 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce & shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce, 429 mg with regular soy sauce and shoyukoji made with regular soy sauce); 62 mg cholesterol; 3.9 g fiber


1 small chicken thigh (136 g skinless & boneless thigh in photo; 126 g after removing obvious fat)
10-15 cm gobo burdock root (38g in photo)
1 small carrot (40 g in photo)
2-3cm renkon lotus root (46 g in photo)
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/4-1/5 konnyaku yam cake (56 g in photo)
Green vegetables (38 g broccoli stem in photo)

1/2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil

For seasoning (see Notes if not using shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt)
1 tsp sake
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt
1/2 tsp soy sauce


Rehydrate dried shiitake by either soaking in water for a few hours or microwaving for a few minutes.


Rangiri diagonally cut carrot, gobo burdock root and renkon lotus root. Soak gobo and renkon in cold water.
Skin broccoli stem thickly (remove fibrous outer part), and rangiri diagonally cut.
Scrape konnyaku yam cake with spoon into 2-3cm pieces.
Cut rehydrated dried shiitake into four or six (size that matches other vegetables).
Add water to shiitake rehydrating liquid to obtain 100cc stock.


Boil konnyaku for 1-2 minutes, and drain.


Meanwhile, microwave broccoli for 20-25 seconds.
Let cool.


Drain gobo and renkon.


Remove obvious fat from chicken, and cut into 4-5cm pieces.


In a pot or frying pan, heat canola and sesame oil.

Saute chicken on medium heat.


When chicken starts to lightly brown, add gobo and renkon, and stir.
When gobo and renkon are coated with oil, add carrot, and stir.
When carrot is coated with oil, add dried shiitake, and stir.
In the meantime, when chicken is almost cooked, remove from pot.


Add konnyaku, and stir.


When konnyaku is coated with oil, pour dried shiitake stock, sake, mirin and rice vinegar, and stir.

Cover, and simmer on medium low heat for 10 minutes.


Put back chicken, and add shoyukoji.

Cover, and simmer for another 3 minutes, stirring once or twice for even flavoring. 


Add soy sauce, and mix well.

Add broccoli stem, and gently mix.

Ready to serve.

    • Green beans, sugar peas, snow peas and English peas are typical green vegetables for this dish. Blanch or microwave separately, and add at the very end for clearer color contrast with other ingredients.
    • Konnyaku can be torn by hand.
    • This can be cooked through Step 11 in advance. A small amount of soy sauce should be added immediately before serving so that its saltiness and aroma stay on the surface of ingredients and are immediately sensed as you put them in your mouth.
    • If you prefer to use chicken breast, marinate it with 1/2-1 tbsp sake in advance (1 hour to overnight) for supple texture in the final dish. Discard sake when cooking chicken.
    • Rice vinegar is added to replace a portion of soy sauce. When simmered long enough (10 minutes or so), the sourness disappears while the tingling sensation remains, which leads to associating a "salty" taste when eating the food.
    • Boiled takenoko bamboo shoots are common in this dish when in season.
    • Iridori is a literal description of the dish -- pan-fried chicken. Chikuzen-ni [Chikuzen simmered dish], the other common name for the dish, is a reflection of its popularity in a particular region. Chikuzen is the old name for the northwest region of today's Fukuoka Prefecture. The dish is also called game-ni [lit. simmered assorted ingredients; a dialect-based expression], especially in Fukuoka.
    • If shoyukoji is not at hand, use 1 & 1/2 tsp soy sauce and a generous pinch of brown sugar (Recipe Option A) instead of 2 tsp shoyukoji (you still need to add 1/2 tsp soy sauce at the end). If sodium content is not a concern, use 2 tsp soy sauce (Recipe Option B). Nutrition figures per 1/2 Recipe Option A would be: 204 calories; 12.7 g protein; 11.0 g fat; 12.6 g carbohydrate; 248 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce, 438 mg with regular soy sauce); 62 mg cholesterol; 3.9 g fiber. The sodium content of Recipe Option B is 286 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce, 514 mg with regular soy sauce). Using katsuo-kobu dashi instead of water to obtain 100 cc stock would also provide umami and mitigate the weak seasoning of Recipe Option A. When using homemade dashi, the increase in sodium content is very minor.

    (Last updated: May 21, 2014)

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