Nimono – 煮物

There are things that I love but never cook. I only have them in restaurants or cooked by someone else. One in particular is nimono – 煮物 a simmered Japanese preparation, often used for vegetables and fishes, or at least for those I eat. The base for the simmering is almost always the same: sake, mirin, sugar, soya sauce. As I don’t use mirin I replace it by a mix of rice vinegar and rice oil. This preparation is a classic in most fish restaurants and more particularly on the sea side. Kakui – かくい, near Katsuura was a very good place for that, but there are plenty everywhere they have fresh local fish. The simmered preparation suits many fishes, best when they have skin and bones. You can make a whole fish or large cuts. So when A. told me to buy this beautiful cut olive flounder (ヒラメ) and we ended with it in the fridge as I was at first a bit annoyed with the cutting and how to prepare it… To be frank, I don’t like cutting and preparing fish too much or rather I don’t mind doing it but then I don’t like eating it anymore so I didn’t want to touch the raw fish too much. A. was suggesting to cook it with soya sauce, so I thought grill… but then we both agreed on simmering. I think that’s what A. had in mind from the beginning but he just didn’t know the term… and I never do it because I thought I took much time than it actually does, so it didn’t come to my mind. So here I am preparing my flounder. And because simmered fish goes well with greens, I added some summer vegetables: okahijiki and green bell peppers. Served with or without rice, but honestly the sauce with rice is just divine, and I’ll do it again and again!

So here is my recipe. Ginger is optional but I highly recommend it.

Simmered fish and greens (for 2servings)

– a fish or a large piece. I used olive flounder.

– some greens: I used okajiki (salsola), green bell pepper, but okra are also a common pairing

For the sauce

– 3tbs of soya sauce

– 3tbs of sake

– 1tsp of rice vinegar

– 1tsp of rice oil

– 1tsp of sugar (optional)

– finely cut fresh ginger (optional)

In a fry pan mix all the ingredients for the sauce, add the fish and cook at low heat under tight cover. After 8min add the vegetables washed and adequately cut. Cook under cover for 5min. Remove the cover and cook at high heat if there is too much liquid until a bit only is left. Serve with a bowl of rice.

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