Do any of you have a source of recipes for the nimono dish or a formula that you use in coming up with one?
Googling “nimono” yields recipes for a different kind of simmered dish than we use for the nimono course in kaiseki; what I find is along the lines of large chunks of e.g. tofu or kabocha that are simmered and presented on a plate, whereas in my experience the nimono course in kaiseki has been more of a mixture of vegetables and/or seafood bound together into a plump patty and presented of course in a nimono-wan with broth and some flavorful garnishes.
Nimono outside of tea is something very different. Nimono for tea should be a very delicate dish served in a clear broth.
I do not have a solid source for a choice of many nimono, but I was served this at one chaji: http://www.nhk.or.jp/dwc/recipes/detail/298.html
The nimono can be any number of things, but it’s not the nimono of everyday Japanese cooking.
It is usually one main thing, like a steamed fish mousse or a piece of “peony-sliced” eel or something, not necessarily seafood or meat-based, and a garnish or two, in seasoned dashi (osumashi). During the summer, it might be a piece of fried then peeled then simmered eggplant. A piece of gomadofu warmed gently so it doesn’t fall apart in the soup is nice. Chopped yuba mixed with eggs and steamed in a mold. A piece of fish coated in a mixture of grated turnip and egg white, into which small mushrooms are pressed.
So while there’s no one recipe or formula for use year-round, there are a few standards that work well. The book Kaiseki: Zen Tastes in Japanese Cooking is a good book in English, with sample menus for various occasions, followed by recipes (not particularly detailed, but sufficient). If you can read Japanese, there are countless resources.
P.s. Katie, send me a message on Facebook if you need help coming up with a specific recipe or menu idea.
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