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Japanese cream stew

by Rosana McPhee
Japanese cream stew

Japanese cream stew

  • Main
  • easy
  • 4
  • 30 minutes, plus 10 days to ferment the koji seasoning

PT30M

PT

 
 

Why not try?

Cream stew, or white stew, is a typical yōshoku dish, which refers to a style of Western-influenced cooking in Japan. Simmered or stewed dishes have existed in Japan for centuries, but the concept of a milk-based stew first appeared in Japan around the latter half of the 1960s. It's a nostalgic dish for many adults and especially popular with kids. In this recipe, the addition of koji elevates the flavour to something a little more refined.

Koji is a type of Japanese seasoning used for centuries as a condiment in a wide variety of dishes. Made from rice malt and salt, it lends an authentic flavour to this stew. Koji has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, thanks in part to the rise in popularity of fermented foods.

Resembling porridge, koji takes on a faintly sweet flavour from the rice. It has a sweet and salty taste, a delicate fermented aroma and can come in a purée, paste, set or even powdered state.

Autumn is my favourite season for food. As temperatures fall, I find myself craving hearty soups and long-simmered dishes packed with umami. It's the season for sweet kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and luscious Japanese mushrooms. That's why I've used mushrooms instead of chicken in this recipe for a more autumnal feel.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

1
To begin, make the koji. If preferred, you can buy premade koji seasoning to save time – you will need 50ml for this recipe
2
Mix the rice koji with the salt, add the water and mix through. Place in a container
3
Place a lid on the container, making sure you leave a small fraction of the lid open so any gases that are produced can escape. Place in a warm area like an airing cupboard
4
Stir once a day for 2–3 days, then leave to ferment for 1 week to 10 days. Consume as soon as possible after this time
5
To make the stew, heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onions until softened
6
Add the potatoes and the dashi, bring to the boil for a minute and then reduce to a simmer
7
Add the carrots to the saucepan and simmer for another 20 minutes
8
In a separate medium pan, prepare the roux. Melt the butter over a low heat. Add the flour, stir well with the butter and cook out for 2 minutes. Pour in a splash of the cold milk
9
Whisk until smooth, still over a low heat. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk, ensuring all of the milk is gradually absorbed to create a creamy white sauce. After 5 minutes, increase the heat until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Add 50ml of the koji seasoning
10
Add the roux to the stew, stir in the broccoli and mushrooms and bring to a gentle boil for a further 2–3 minutes. Check the seasoning for salt and pepper then serve immediately
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