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.

Courtesy of NHK


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