The Passover Potluck is a unique annual online event. I’ve invited my friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to share recipes that are kosher for Passover. My goals are simple– to foster mutual understanding between different cultures, to introduce you to my foodie friends, and to share yummy recipes and cooking ideas for Passover! To learn more about the Passover holiday, click here.
Passover Potluck 2013 is generously sponsored by Idaho Potatoes.
I’ve been a fan of Rachael Hutchings and her blog, La Fuji Mama, for quite some time. Rachael has a vast knowledge of Japanese cuisine. What better way to bring a multi-cultural blogging voice to the Passover table? I knew it would be tough, creating a Japanese-inspired dish without kitniyot, but Rachael rose to the challenge in a spectacular way. I especially love that the dish she chose to make includes my name, Tori, in the title. I once had a Japanese friend tell me that my name means bird. Now I’m wondering if chicken is a more accurate translation! ~ Tori
I am so excited for the opportunity to participate in the Passover Potluck! I am not Jewish, though I’ve had many Jewish friends over the years, and one year thoroughly embarrassed my parents at a Passover Seder we attended with friends when my brothers and I drank more than our fair share of the grape juice provided for the children because it was the best grape juice we had ever tasted. (Sorry Mom!) My site, La Fuji Mama, is focused on bringing world flavors to the family dinner table. I feature recipes that are a fusion of different tastes, influenced by the variety of places I have lived and visited, and the people I’ve met. Those recipes are especially influenced by the two times I’ve lived in Japan. In fact, I like to say that I’m a self-proclaimed Japanese cuisine advocate, and love nothing more than expanding people’s knowledge of Japanese cuisine beyond sushi.
As I was mulling over what to share for the potluck, I started looking around on the internet for Japanese kosher recipes and Japanese Passover recipes, on a hunch. My hunch proved to be correct—there isn’t a ton of information out there, and sometimes what is out there is far from what would be considered “traditional” or “authentic” Japanese. When it comes to Passover, my educated guess is this is due to the fact that Japanese cuisine is replete with kitniyot. Rice and soy are a huge part of Japanese cuisine (the words in Japanese for rice and meal are the same) and it is extremely difficult to create a dish without using these ingredients that will taste like it should.
With this in mind, I decided to try my hand at creating a Japanese dish that would be Passover kosher while still retaining its Japanese essence. I settled on making Tori Tsukune Nabe, or Chicken Meatball Hot Pot. I replaced the soy sauce that I would have added to the tsukune (meatballs) with a bit of salt and extra ginger. For the broth I mixed chicken stock with homemade shiitake mushroom broth, to add extra umami, made by soaking dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water. The finished hot pot is light and healthy, filled with chopped napa cabbage, sliced carrots, cremini mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms, and of course the juicy chicken meatballs. Oh, and yes, it’s kosher for Passover!
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Shiitake Mushroom Broth Ingredients
- 4 cups warm (but not boiling) water
- 5 or 6 large dried shiitake mushrooms (.75 ounces)
Tsukune (Chicken Meatball) Ingredients
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 large egg
- 1 leek, white and pale green part, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 small napa cabbage, roughly chopped (core removed and discarded)
- 1 medium carrot, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into slices crosswise (half-moon shape)
- 4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Make the Shiitake Mushroom Broth: Put the warm water and dried shiitake mushrooms together in a bowl and let them soak for at least 30 minutes. Then strain the stock through a fine-woven, cloth-lined or fine-mesh strainer to remove any foreign matter. Put the stock into a stock pot for cooking the hot pot. Trim the stems off of the mushrooms, rinse the caps to remove any gritty material, and then squeeze out the excess liquid. Slice the caps into very thin strips and set aside.
- Make the Tsukune (Chicken Meatball) Mixture: Combine the ground chicken, egg, chopped leek, grated ginger, and sea salt together in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine the chicken stock with the shiitake mushroom stock in the stock pot and add the sliced shiitake mushrooms.
- Place the stock pot over medium-high heat. When the stock begins to boil, reduce the heat to maintain the stock at a simmer.
- Scoop tablespoonfuls of meat mixture with one spoon, then use a second spoon to shape the spoonfuls into balls and gently drop them into the simmering broth, one at a time.
- Let the meatballs cook for one minute and then add the cabbage, carrot, and cremini mushrooms.
- Cover the pot with a lid and let the hot pot cook for about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the stock at a gentle simmer. The hot pot is ready when the vegetables are cooked through and the meatballs are no longer pink in the center. Season the hot pot with the freshly ground black pepper and serve.