Nishime (the traditional Japanese simmered dish) (煮しめ)
Nishime (煮しめ) is a dish in which a simmering cooking technique is used. It is a typical Japanese home cooked dish. Dishes containing root crops, potatoes, konjac, konbu kelp, abura-age (deep-fried bean curd) among other ingredients, and simmered to taste salty-sweet are often called nishime; the ingredients of nishime, however, differ by region and the season in which nishime is cooked, and meats or fish sausages (so-called "nerimono") such as chikuwa and kamaboko or in some regions, fish, also appear as ingredients. Seasoning also differs from region to region. Nishime is served not only as an everyday meal but also for feasts served at occasions such as the Obon festival (Festival of the Dead or Buddhist All Soul's Day), New Year's holidays, seasonal festivals and other festivals where many people are assembled and guests are welcomed with food. Thus nishime is generally regarded as one of 'Mom's dishes,' or an example of good old home cooking.
The cooking technique of taking time to simmer the contents so as to leave no broth left is called 'nishimeru,' and dishes so cooked are collectively called 'nishime.'
Nishime is also written as '煮染め' or '煮締め' and is also called 'onishime.'
Although there is a dyeing method called '煮染め,' this is usually pronounced as 'nizome' and the liquid dye is not simmered in this method.
Nishime (konishime) recipe
As an example, the following is the recipe for konishime (a dish coming from Fukui Prefecture).
In winter, when nishime stays good for more days than in other seasons, it is usually prepared in a relatively large quantity, using a large pot. Some of the ingredients gradually break down over time to make the broth liquid thick. Nishime is sometimes eaten as a topping on rice.
Ingredients such as atsuage (thick fried tofu), dried shiitake mushrooms, carrots, konjac, bamboo shoots, knotted konbu kelp, Japanese taro and daikon (Japanese giant radish) are cut into small cubes yet large enough not to become mushy when simmered.
The ingredients are put in a substantial amount of dashi broth and seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), and sake.