Nishime is a “waterless” style of cooking vegetables because very little water is added to the pot when cooking. The juices from the vegetables will release and provide enough liquid to steam them in their own juices. The vegetables are generally cut into large chunks and cooked slowly over a low heat bringing out the delicious sweetness of each vegetable. This is a very nourishing dish for the body and use this style at least two times a week.
Root Vegetable Nishime
1 onion, sliced into large wedges
¼ cup hard winter squash (such as butternut), cubed into 2 inch pieces
1 purple daikon radish, cut into large 1 inch chunks
1 parsnip cut into 1 ½ inch slices
1 carrot, cut into 1 ½ inch slices
2 to 3 inch piece of kombu
*Use organic ingredients where possible
Place the kombu at the bottom of a heavy pot and fill with just barely enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Layer the vegetables on top of one another in the order listed above. Fit them nice and snuggly in there. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of the vegetables. Place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil on medium heat. As soon as you see steam coming from the top of the pot, lower the heat to a simmer.
Allow the vegetables to cook, covered, until almost tender. This will be about 25 to 30 minutes. Just before done, it is optional to lift the lid, add a few drops of shoyu, replace the cover and gently shake the pot a few times to disperse the shoyu throughout the pot. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit and serve after a few minutes of cooling.
optional modification: Occasionally add green leafy vegetables, such as kale or collards or broccoli rabe, towards the end of cooking to lighten things up. There are nearly infinite combinations of this dish. Try these:
turnip, onion, cabbage, shiitake.
burdock, carrot, onion, squash
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