Dashi is a Japanese cooking stock that is the base of the well-known miso soup. There are variations of dashi, one being made with the dried flakes of the bonito fish. Dried bonito flakes are available from Japanese and general Asian grocers and is a good pantry staple and convenient substitute for regular fish stock.
1 x 1.6 kg free-range fresh chicken
¼ cup tamari or regular soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
2 litres water
2 large handfuls (50 g) bonito flakes
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 leeks, the white part thickly sliced
300 g button mushrooms, halved
1 large thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled & thinly sliced
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and place in a bowl with the soy and 1 tbsp mirin. Roll the chicken around in the marinade to cover. Leave breast side down, cover and marinate 30 minutes.
Bring the water to the boil, stir through the bonito flakes and simmer 3 – 4 minutes. Strain, reserve the liquid (dashi) and discard the bonito.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pot. Pat the breast dry with paper towel and then place breast side down into the pot to brown the chicken on all sides. Reserve to the side.
Add the leeks, mushrooms and ginger to the pot and gently fry 3 – 4 minutes until softened. Pour in the dashi, remaining mirin, season to taste and then gently lower the chicken into the pot, breast side down.
Simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Turn heat off and allow to sit a further 20 minutes.
Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the dashi and vegetables garnished with chopped chives & toasted sesame seeds.