Farmhouse Nishimi Recipe

A celebratory favorite in Japan brings a hearty mix of vegetables and flavors; Nishimi is a must-try recipe.

Summer 2014

  • Photo by Jeff Nekola and Linda Fey

Total Hands-On Time: 1 hr

Yield: Family-size pot

Farmhouse Nishimi

Farmhouse Nishimi is often served for New Year’s or solar equinox celebrations. Because it is largely made from root vegetables and other ingredients that can be stored in a root cellar or larder, it is an excellent choice for a spring meal before many fresh vegetables are available. This nishimi differs from the type typically served in cities by using miso in the broth, making for a heartier and richer stew. 

One of the more unusual ingredients in this dish is konnyaku cake, which is made of flour ground from the dry roots of Amorphophallus konjac, a plant closely related to Calla Lilies with leaves well over a yard across and with a corm (a type of root) that can weigh up to 5 pounds. This flour is largely made of the soluble dietary fiber glucomannan, a high molecular weight polysaccharide consisting primarily of mannose and glucose sugars. Glucomannan is one of the most viscous soluble fibers known, and also has the highest known water-holding capacity. Just 2 teaspoons of glucomannan flour is enough to make 2 cups of konnyaku cake, which has no calories, a firm rubbery texture, and no flavor of its own. However, with long stewing it will pick up the tastes of the foods it is cooked with, especially miso broth.


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