Japanese Spring Vegetable Ragoût
Rice wine vinegar and arrowroot are good substitutes if you cant find umeboshi vinegar (the liquid used for pickling Japanese plums) and kuzu (Japanese arrowroot).
2 Tbs. dark sesame oil
½ lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced (4 cups)
2 medium-size carrots, cut on diagonal into ½-inch slices (1 cup)
¼ cup minced shallots
½ cup sake
1 Tbs. Japanese soy sauce
½ lb. asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (2 cups)
¼ lb. snow peas, strings removed (1 ½ cups)
2 Tbs. kuzu (Japanese arrowroot) dissolved in ¼ cup water
2 tsp. umeboshi vinegar
- 1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shiitakes, carrots and shallots; cook, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mushrooms have released their juices. Add sake and soy sauce, stirring to scrape up any brown bits stuck to bottom of pan. Increase heat, and simmer rapidly, about 3 minutes, or until liquid is syrupy.
- 2. Stir in 2 1/2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, or until liquid thickens. Add asparagus; simmer 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in snow peas and kuzu, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until liquid returns to a simmer and has thickened.
- 3. Remove pan from heat, and stir in vinegar. Ladle into shallow bowls, and serve with Rice and Barley with Gingered Adzuki Beans (separate recipe) mounded in middle.