A mix of colorful vegetables, flavored with a sweet and sour sauce that makes them tasty and inviting. This is the Tori, Yasai Kurozu Ann (鳥と野菜の黒酢あん), a Japanese dish (although with flavors closer to Chinese gastronomy), became famous as the top menu of a famous chain of restaurants.
The preparation of this dish involves first the frying of all the vegetables separately (potatoes, carrots, lotus flowers, eggplants) and then a quick pan-frying with a thick sauce composed of apple vinegar, black rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar.
Result: glazed vegetables with a delicious sweet and sour flavor. A classic main that, given its richness in flavors and textures, accompanied by a bowl of steaming rice and miso soup forms a perfect match.
(Rice and miso soup also help to alternate the various flavors and avoid heaviness due to frying).
Called in Japanese Kurozu 黒酢, ( 黒 = Black, 酢 = Vinegar), it is a vinegar obtained by fermenting brown rice together with Koji and water (in some areas of Japan is used wheat or barley instead of rice).
With a production mainly centered in the area of Kagoshima, it is considered a healthy elixir for the body thanks to the high content of amino acids (more than other types of vinegar), and for this reason, its regular consumption is recommended.
But how is it produced? Rice is fermented in jars, generally in terracotta, and left age for different lengths of times according to the producer (in general between 1 and 3 years).
The most popular recipes that see this ingredient as a protagonist are a sweet and sour pork, teriyaki chicken with black vinegar, together with fish such as mackerel, added to the sauce for kinpira or simply diluted in water or other beverages such as milk, orange juice or even with honey.
In Japanese Tori means = chicken. The original version of this recipe requires fried chicken (Karaage) that is served together with all the vegetables.
To create a vegan alternative I decided to use Fu (gluten from flour simply mixed with water that really looks like dry bread). I followed the same steps required with the chicken and the result was just as delicious.
In case you can’t find Fu, you can simply omit it and prepare only the vegetables.
Cut Fu into small pieces, place in a bowl, add marinade ingredients, mix, and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with potato starch.
Meanwhile, put the Black Vinegar Sauce ingredients all in a bowl and mix.
About the vegetables, the cut doesn’t have to be perfect but is important that the size of the pieces are similar in order to obtain homogeneous cooking. Here’s what I did.
Divide the potatoes into 6 equal parts and soak them in water. Cut the lotus root into thick rounds and then in half. Cut the carrots into little irregular triangles. Peel the eggplant into strips with a peeler cut them in half vertically, cut them into pieces, and soak them in water. Cut the onion into three parts and then in half.
Put the vegetable oil in a pan about 2 cm from the bottom, add the potatoes and carrots, and heat over medium heat. Fry for about 3 minutes, flipping when bubbles appear and turning occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Fry until bamboo skewers go through, remove and drain (4 am minutes for carrots, 6-7 minutes for potatoes).
While the oil is still hot, add the lotus root and eggplant, fry for 1 minute, remove and drain. Fry the onions and piman for another’s minute, remove and drain the oil.
Add the Fu and fry for4-5 minutes depending on the thickness you choose.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, piman, potatoes, carrots, lotus root, eggplant, onions, Fu, add black vinegar sauce and stir quickly.
Here your dish ready to enjoy!
The Fu 麩 that I used come from Kokoro Care Packages , a company made by two amazing women that bring around the world the true flavor of Japanese Food.
Perfect also in Obento
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