Peel the lotus root and slice into 2mm half moons. Cut into quarters if it is large. Soak in a bowl of water with a little vinegar (not listed) for 10 minutes. Rinse well and drain in a sieve.
Slice the Japanese leek diagonally. Cut the carrot into thin strips. Cut the aburaage in half lengthwise, and slice into 2-3mm pieces.
Heat sesame oil in a pan, and stir-fry the Japanese leek, carrot and aburaage over high heat for 1 minute. Once the Japanese leek is tender, add the lotus root and fry a bit more.
Add dashi stock, sugar, usukuchi light soy sauce, and mirin to the pan. Stir-fry and simmer over high heat. Turn off the heat when the cooking sauce is almost completely cooked off. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil and stir. Then it's done.
This dish tastes even better if you let it cool down to absorb the flavor. Cook in the evening and it will be a great lunch box filler the next day.
If you like it spicy, add deseeded and thinly sliced chili peppers in Step 3.
Story Behind this Recipe
I made kinpira with Japanese leek, since it is very delicious stir-fried. The idea of using deep-fried tofu came from "Kitsune Udon" (udon with deep fried tofu). Japanese leek goes well with deep-fried tofu.
Keep cooking over high heat from the beginning to end. Use thick deep-fried tofu!