Dango-jiru is a local dish in Oita Prefecture, Kyushu. I visited Oita last year and my friend taught me this dish. The dish is nutritious and has so many ingredients. The gooey dango are so delicious. It’ll be fun to stretch the dango.
First, let’s make the dango. Add a pinch of salt to the all purpose flour and mix it with chopsticks. Add the water a little at a time and mix in the four. If you’re out of all purpose flour, you can combine cake flour with an equal amount of bread flour in this recipe.
When the flour is moistened, press it with your hand to combine.
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until the surface has a glossy texture. In Japan, the ideal softness is often described as ‘like your earlobe.’ Sounds weird, huh?
Roll the dough into a cylindrical shape.
And cut it into 8 equal pieces.
Then, shape each piece into an oval.
To keep it from drying out, cover the dough with a dampened towel and let it sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
Next, let’s cut the vegetables. Make numerous shallow cuts around the burdock root lengthwise.
Then, shave the root with a knife while gradually rotating it. This cutting method, known as Sasagaki will help to make the firm root easier to eat.
Next, trim off the root end and the stem end of the taro. Peel the skin lengthwise.
Then, slice it into 7 millimeter slices.
Likewise, slice the daikon radish and carrot into 7 millimeter slices.
Now, let’s parboil the ingredients. Add the burdock root, taro, daikon and carrot to a large pot of boiling water. Allow it to boil and cook for about 1 minute.
Then, remove the vegetables with a mesh strainer.
Turn off the burner and place the skinless chicken thigh into the same pot of hot water. The meat should be cut into bite-size pieces beforehand.
When it turns kind of white, quickly remove the chicken. The parboiling will remove any unwanted flavor from the vegetables and the meat and help them to absorb the broth later, making the dish absolutely delicious.
Remove the heads and stomaches beforehand and soak the dried baby sardines in the water for more than 30 minutes.
Pour the water into a pot along with the niboshi, dried baby sardines. And turn on the burner.
Bring it to a boil and carefully remove the foam.
Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer the dashi stock for a total of 8 to 10 minutes. Leave the lid slightly open to prevent the stock from having a fishy odor.
Now, turn off the burner. Remove the niboshi with a mesh strainer and the dashi stock is ready.
And now, let’s make the dango-jiru. Heat the niboshi dashi stock in a pot. And add the parboiled root vegetables.
Now, shape each dango into a noodle-like strip. Gradually pull the edge to stretch the dango.
Dango usually have a round shape but this type of dango has a flat udon noodle-like shape.
Hold each end and gently shake it to help stretch the dango.
Stretching dango takes time so start shaping them before the stock begins to boil.
Then, add half of the miso to the broth. Dissolve the miso in a small mesh strainer to help remove any lumps.
Cover and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables and the dango soften.
Now, add the chicken, aburaage, thin deep-fried tofu, and shimeji mushrooms.
Add the napa cabbage.
Cover again and cook the cabbage and mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes.
Then, dissolve the rest of the miso.
Finally, add the chopped long green onion. Lightly cook the onion and the dango-jiru is ready.
You can add yuzukosho, yuzu citrus chili paste or shichimi, mixed chili powder to taste.
Alternatively, sliced pork is used instead of chicken or the broth is seasoned with soy sauce instead of miso.
Konnyaku or konjac is also a popular ingredient in this recipe.
You can mix the used baby sardines with shredded carrot, burdock root and sliced onion and make delicious kakiage, mixed vegetable tempura.