This is a very popular traditional Japanese dish in the spring, when fresh bamboo shoots and wakame seaweed are in the height of season. Bamboo brings sweet and tender characters, and the wakame is rich in mineral flavors. But, even if you can’t get such fresh ingredients in the season, with the increased availability and quality of pre-cooked bamboo and dried wakame, you can enjoy this dish all year round. I like to top it with a generous amount of shaved katsuobushi, as it gives extra rich flavor and makes the dish even more satisfying.
Vegan optionUse Kombu and Shiitake Dashi or your choice of vegan dashi (stock)
EquipmentClassic-style Donabe (1.2-qt/ 1,200 ml or larger)
Servings3 - 4 as an appetizer
- 1 3/4 cups (420 ml) kombu and bonito dashi or your choice of dashi
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 1 tablespoon raw brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon or more sea salt
- 8 oz (240 g) pre-cooked bamboo shoots, cut into bit-size pieces
- 3 rectangular abura-age (fried tofu pouch) blanched and cut each into 4 strips
- 3 tablespoons dry wakame seaweed (cut), rehydrated (total about 1 cup/ 240 ml after reconstituted)
- Shaved katsuobushi (bonito flakes), for serving
- Shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice powder), for serving
- Combine the dashi, sake, sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and salt in donabe, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Add the bamboo shoot and abura-age. As soon as the broth starts to boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the wakame. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Serve into individual bowls and garnish with some shaved katsuobushi and shichimi togarashi, if you like.
With juicy abura-age strips, this dish makes a wonderful light and healthy one-pot dish.