Kobumaki are kombu rolls. This is a lightly seasoned version rolled with chicken. The fall-apart tender and lightly flavored chicken is delicious. The name "kobumaki" is a play on words to "yorokobu," which means "to express happiness," so it's a good-luck food for the New Years' festivities.
enough to cover the rolls (about 5 cups - 1000 ml)
◇ White soy sauce or usukuchi soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons
Choose sturdy kombu and kanpyo, not the "quick cooking" type.
Soak the kombu in water for about 10 minutes to soften (don't soak it for too long.) Cut into 12 cm lengths.
Massage the kanpyo with salt, soak in water, and take it out as soon as it's become flexible. Cut into 26 cm lengths. If the strips are thick like the one in the photo, cut into half lengthwise.
Take the skin off the chicken and cut into 1 cm wide strips (the chicken is easier to cut and to roll if half-frozen).
Place a piece of kombu with the 12 cm side positioned vertically. Put a strip of chicken in the center and roll it up rather loosely (since the kombu will plump up while cooking).
This is how the rolls look.
Tie the rolls up so that each piece will be about 4 to 5 cm long when cut, tie the long rolls in two places. Wrap the kanpyo loosely twice around the roll and tie it up.
This is double the amount of this recipe. Roll and tie it all up like this.
Line the kombu rolls in a pot, and add the sake and enough of the soaking liquid from the kombu to cover. Simmer until the kombu is tender. If you skim off any scum or bits of kombu that float to the surface diligently, the rolls will have a nice clean finish.
The simmering liquid should just be covering the rolls when the kombu is tender.
When the konbu is tender, add the ◇ flavoring ingredients, and simmer until there's no liquid left in the pan. Leave to cool, cut into 4 to 5 cm length pieces, and it's done!
I rolled burdock root in my kobumaki for the Osechi I made in 2012.
Story Behind this Recipe
I make kobumaki every year for New Years. I change up the filling every year, and this year I used lightly seasoned chicken.
The chicken is easier to roll if it's frozen in advance. Wrap the kombu and kanpyo loosely, since the kombu will swell while cooking. If you skim off any scum or bits of kombu that float to the surface diligently, the rolls will have a nice clean finish. I used chicken breast this time, but you can use salmon, pork, half-dried herring, wakasagi (a type of small fish), grilled haze fish, or whatever you like.