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Oden (Asian Root Vegetable) Stew

Excerpted from The Angelica Home Kitchen Cookbook

This oden stew is traditional of Japanese country cooking, and is generally a five-root stew. You can play with it and add the root vegetables you have on hand. This stew is healing, it purifies and nourishes. Angelica Kitchen is a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in the East Village--worth a visit next time you are in New York. In the meantime though, the The Angelica Home Kitchen is a good second best to the restaurant. This is one of the best vegetarian cookbooks I own. Most every recipe I have made is delicious!

Yield: 4-6 servings
Cooking time: 1 hour

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups diced onions (1 large)
Approximately 6 oz. of each of the following 5 ingredients:
1 cup burdock, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup rutabagas, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup parsnips, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 to 6 dry shiitake mushrooms
1 (3 -inch) piece kombu
5 slices ginger, each the size of a quarter
1/2 cup tamari
2 tablespoons mirin
1/4 cup kuzu
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sliced scallions for garnish

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, sauté the onions and burdock in the olive oil over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the carrots, daikon, rutabagas, parsnips, shiitake mushrooms, kombu, ginger, mirin, and tamari.
Lower the flame and simmer covered for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the ginger and discard.
Remove the kombu and shiitake mushrooms, slice into bite size pieces, and return to the pot.
Dissolve the kuzu in 1/4 cup cold water; stir into the stew and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Stir in sesame oil. (Do not cook toasted sesame oil, just add as a last minute addition.)

• Optional: Serve with soba noodles or rice, accompanied by baked tofu, kimchee, and scallion garnish.