Zoni is a simple and very healthy Japanese soup and grilled rice cake dish that you can easily make at home. You can buy the mustard spinach, the shaved katsuo-bushi (dried and smoked bonito) for the dashi stock, and rice cakes at an Asian market.
Ingredients (serves 4)
100 g chicken thigh meat
100 g komatsuna (mustard spinach)
4 mochi rice cakes
1/2/ (70 g) carrot
4 cups dashi stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
How to cook
1.Prepare the dashi stock. Bring 4 cups of water to the boil. Stir in 12 g of shaved katsuo-bushi (dried and smoked bonito), and simmer over low heat for 1-2 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve.
2.Blanch the mustard spinach for 2-3 minutes in salted boiling water. Remove with tongs and plunge immediately into a bowl of cold water to set the color. Once the mustard spinach has cooled, remove and squeeze the moisture from the leaves. Lay on a chopping board and cut into 4 cm lengths. Slice the carrot into rounds 5 mm thick. If you possess a mold, the rounds can be cut into decorative shapes. Boil the carrot for 7-8 minutes, until tender, in the same water which you used to blanch the mustard spinach. Drain and set aside.
3.Place the rice cakes in a non-oiled frying pan. Place the lid over the pan, and set over low heat, turning the cakes after 2-3 minutes. The cakes should have puffed up after 5 minutes.
4.Cut the chicken into 2 cm pieces and place in a saucepan with the cold dashi stock. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes, being sure to remove the scum that wells to the surface with a ladle or spoon. Season with the salt and soy sauce. Add the prepared mustard spinach and carrot, heating them gently. Have 4 small bowls ready. Place a grilled rice cake in each, and then add the soup with the greens, carrot and chicken. Be sure to arrange them in decorative piles around the rice cake.