2000s Recipes + Menus

Mountain-Yam Hot Pot

  • Active time:35 min
  • Start to finish:45 min
December 2008
To really do justice to this dish, you need to find an Asian market that has as many of the ingredients listed here as possible (don’t worry about the mushrooms, which are easier to find). That holds true especially true for the inaka miso—a key to the rich flavor of this signature Tohoku hot pot. This dish would traditionally contain mountain yam, which is native to Japan, but in this recipe we used the more readily available Chinese yam.

Travel to the outer regions of Japan to learn more about this dish.
  • 6 oz Chinese yam (naga imo)
  • 3 tablespoons Japanese potato starch (katakuriko)
  • 3 oz burdock root (16 inches long)
  • 7 oz konnyaku or shirataki noodles
  • 7 oz fresh shimeji or white beech mushrooms, trimmed
  • 7 oz fresh enoki mushrooms, trimmed
  • 7 oz fresh maitake or oyster mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 oz very thinly sliced pork belly, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons inaka miso (coarsely ground red miso)
  • 2 Tokyo leeks (3/4 lb total; white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced and washed (see Tips)
  • 4 oz shungiku (chrysanthemum greens), mitsuba (trefoil), or seri (water dropwort), chopped
  • Peel and finely grate mountain yam. Whisk together with potato starch until combined well and let dumpling mixture stand at least 10 minutes.
  • Scrape skin off burdock root with back of a knife, then thinly slice diagonally. Cover with water in a bowl.
  • Cut noodles into 3- to 4-inch pieces and put in a colander, then rinse with about 2 cups boiling-hot water.
  • Tear mushrooms into smaller pieces.
  • Heat oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook pork belly and burdock root (drained), stirring occasionally, until meat is no longer pink and root is softened, about 5 minutes. Add noodles and water (4 cups) and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam. Whisk in miso, then reduce heat to bring broth to a brisk simmer. Drop tablespoons of dumpling mixture into simmering broth, then cook, uncovered, turning once, until dumplings are set, about 2 minutes.
  • Carefully add leeks, chrysanthemum greens, and mushrooms, arranging each ingredient in a different part of pot. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.
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