homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Nikomi Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana

homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Nikomi Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana (鶏つくね煮込みほうとううどん、ほうぼう煮魚、花菜)

homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana

Chicken Tsukune Nikomi Udon: Udon, Japanese-style chicken meatballs and vegetables simmered in chicken stock-miso soup

Hobo Nizakana: Red Gurnard Simmered in Sweet Shoyu-sake Broth

Nanohana: Lightly Steamed Rape Blossoms with Sesame Sauce

This is a wonderful, late winter dinner that starts with a rich, bone warming hearty soup. Second an slightly uncommon little red fish simmered in sweetened shoyu broth. And ends with fresh, lightly steamed greens announcing the coming of Spring. We enjoyed this seasonal dinner with a high powered, unfiltered, unpasteurized, undiluted sake from Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery.


The Dinner

homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana

The Ingredients for Udon
homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
Broth, nama-udon (fresh udon noodles for simmering), chicken meatballs, veggies (carrots, daikon radish and negi – scallions) and some miso for final flavoring.

Chicken Soup Stock
homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
Peko bought some 50 yen chicken carcasses and broiled and boiled them for our soup stock. Yummy!

‘Nama’ Udon Being Added to the Soup
homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
After the veggies have cooked for about 15 minutes Paku added the nama, or fresh udon. It is not dried, just like ‘fresh pasta’. This very wide udon is for simmering, nikomi (煮込み) in soup. It has not been boiled prior to adding to the soup. Usually, for Japanese noodle dishes the noodles are boiled separately and added to the soup just before being eaten. This is the case for soba, ramen and most udon noodles, the exception being nikomi udon. The miso has not yet been added.

Last Step: Add the Miso and Negi (scallions)
homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
Finally, add the miso and scallions. At this point about half of the soup stock of the had been absorbed by the udon. Yummy!

Chicken Tsukune Nikomi Udon
homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
Healthy and hearty.

Hobo (Red Gurnard)
homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
We hadn’t heard of this fish, the hobo (ほうぼう、魴) before but apparently it is not uncommon. The Red Gurnard is a tasty fish. We affectionately named this one ‘The Dude’. Paku thought that the dude was really cute, even cuter than Peko! In Japan, large ones (40cm+) are especially sought after for sashimi and command high prices. Smaller ones (20-30cm) are used for nizakana, (fish simmered in broth).

Nizakana
homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
Place in a sauce pan, then add the broth ingredients.

Nizakana: Simmering the Fishhomecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
Water, cooking sake, mirin, shoyu and sugar. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Super delicious.

Hobo Nizakana Served
homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
Serve in the broth.

Nanohana, or in Kyoto, Hanana – Rape Blossomshomecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana
This late winter green is a very well loved veggie in Japan and Kyoto. Claimed by some as a Kyo-yasai (Kyoto vegetable). A little later in the spring nanohana will have dainty yellow blossoms. We love it steamed or blanched and served with sesame based sauce. Nanohana-zuke (lightly pickled in salt Nanohana) is a popular spring pickle.

A Fine Dinner Served with Fine Sake
homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana

We enjoyed this dinner with Muroka Nama-genshu (無濾過生原酒) from Kitagawa Honke Sake Brewery (Part 1) that I picked up on a recent visit. This unfiltered (muroka) sake is both namazake and genshu, unpasteurized and undiluted with water. This uncontrived, high-powered sake is straight out of the vat — this is my kind of brew!! (Peko)

How to Prepare?

We think that it would be difficult to prepare the udon dish outside of Japan. So we did not detail the ingredients. If you are reading this blog, you can probably figure it out just from the photos.

If you can get dried, nikomi udon in your county, you can probably pull this one off. The chicken meatballs are just ground chicken, often flavored with some onion, scallion and a little garlic. Sometimes katakuriko is added, even finely cubed konyaku or nagaimo. (Peko says NO katakuriko, as it makes the meatballs too rubbery.)

Paku decided to do a nizakana series and will detail how to make various nizakana dishes — Peko can’t wait!!

Any questions? Let us know!

9 Responses to “homecooking: Chicken Tsukune Nikomi Udon, Hobo Nizakana and Nanohana”

  1. Nate says:

    Nice, nice post!!!

  2. Peko says:

    Hey Nate. Thanks! Sorry, I haven’t been over to your blog for awhile. What have you been up to?

  3. Lori says:

    I’ve never heard of that fish before either, it looks very tasty though. Great looking dinner!

  4. Kat says:

    Wow! this looks great. I’ve never heard of that fish before, I give you credit for cleaning and cooking it. I need to work on my skills for fish.

  5. PekoPeko says:

    Lori,
    Yes, that fish was quite tasty! Very meaty, and easy to eat.

    Kat,
    Actually Paku is the fish cleaner. I did give her a hand though. (I have cleaned my fair share of fish though.)

    Cleaning it took about 90 seconds. And cooking is a breeze. Just simmer for 20 minutes.

    Maybe we should start a nizakana competition on our blogs?

  6. Momo says:

    absolutely delicious !
    one of my favorite udon is tsukimi udon! yum yum

    nothing beats the clean taste of the udon broth and soft tender thick noodles!

    the fish is beautiful! i would be too scared to cook an entire fish with the head and scales still on hahaha!

  7. PekoPeko says:

    Hello Momo,
    Yes, super yummy! Tsukimi udon rules, doesn’t it.
    When you buy fish here for simmering, they are usually scaled or do not need to be scaled. Often times they are gutted, often not. But that is easy, or you can often have them gutted at the fish market for an additional, nominal fee.
    Cooking with the head on is no big deal, probably looks a whole lot scarier than it actually is. Just think of it as a decoration!

  8. [...] (菜の花) Onigiri Nanohana (rape blossoms) have been discussed in recent posts on KyotoFoodie. Nanohana is much loved late-winter and early spring delicacy. Here the blossoms [...]

  9. [...] Another KyotoFoodie article that includes nizakana is right here. [...]

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