Learn about these potatoes while I was with my foster daughter, Yuriko. I was told it was a mountain potato also known as Yama-Imo, meaning long potato. You can get the wild grown/cultivated ones in Japanese. The Naga-Imo has a dark rough skin and the inside is a snowy white and shiny flesh and is very slippery. It has little aroma and has a bitter-sweet flavor. It is a winter vegetables and can be available in well-stocked Japanese Supermarkets.
It was a learning experience for me when I was in Japan last summer. It was great to learn a lot about their culture, food and table manners. I also got to go to their fresh market which was so different from us in the states. There were many organic vegetables which were home-grown by families who have their own farms. Yuriko’s parents do own many lands but are mainly for growing glutinous rice and short-grain rice. Her father (in his late 80s) was very unique as he does not look for his age and works the whole day in his fields and vegetable gardens. He left a plot of land for me to experience how to plant rice which city people like me, who have not experience working in the rice field. This really give me a different look on how treasure and enjoy any food.
Well, this dish is not very difficult to make but as you know Japanese treats their cutting of any meat and vegetables a piece of art. All the pieces being cut has to be equal sizes and as close to their shapes. This soup is very light and flavorsome.
3 pieces boneless, skinless chicken leg/breast, cut into bite size, boiled the chicken, drained and set aside
6 whole Naga-Imo, peeled and cut to bite size
1 large carrot, peeled and cut to bite size
4 cups kombu dashi (See recipe below) and 1 cup water
1 tablespoon canola/vegetable/corn oil
3 tablespoons Aosa Nori flake/powder
5 tablespoons Shoyu
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon raw sugar
3 tablespoons mirin (optional)
3 tablespoons sake (optional)
Ground black pepper to taste
Kombu Dashi (Vegetarian Broth)
1 piece 4×5 inch Kombu
6 cups water
Gently clean the dashi kombu with a damp kitchen towel but leave the white powdery substances. Do not wash the kombu. Use scissors to cut a couple of slits on it.
Fill the sauce pan with boiling water and kombu and soak for 3-4 hours ahead of time. The flavor of kombu will come out naturally in the soaking water. Remove the kombu and strain before use.
Heat a soup pot with canola/vegetable/corn oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, Naga-Imo (Japanese long potatoes) and chicken pieces into the heat pot. Stir well each time you add a new ingredient.
Pour the kombu dashi broth and water over the chicken mixture and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes on high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the seasonings, cover the pot and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until broth has reduced, gently stir the mixture from time to time. When the Naga-Imo (Japanese long potatoes) is soft, remove from the heat. Transfer the chicken mixture to a serving bowl and garnish with some Aosa Nori flake/powder.