I absolutely love nishime, especially when I feel a bit low or not so healthy, then this dish is really soothing and healing…and so simple. But you can play with it quite a bit, depending on which veggies you use or also how you choose to season it.
The first nishime is really funny, because it´s completely purple thanks to the red onion and red cabbage 😀 I think it´s pretty! I used daikon, carrot, hokkaido pumpkin, red onion and red cabbage, all cut into large chunks (in nishime you use large chunks so that the veggies retain their sweetness). On the bottom of the pot you place a stamp-sized piece of kombu seaweed, place the veggies on top (making “islands” of separate vegetable groups, not mixing them together) and then add a tiny bit of water, about 0,5-1 cm high. Bring to boil, cover with a lid and simmer on very low flame, possibly using a heat deflector as well, for 10-20 minutes (I like them cooked longer for maximum sweetness and softness). At the end you can either sprinkle a pinch of salt to season (and let simmer still) or some shoyu/tamari (also let simmer), the latter will turn your nishime brown though (unless it´s already purple haha :-D). You could also season with ume plum vinegar or miso or other stuff. Check the nishime from time to time as it can burn, but don´t disturb it too often or for too long… It´s better off left on its own 😀 If you still have water at the end, take off the lid and cook it away, or strain the liquid, it´s a delicious drink. Don´t eat the kombu though, unless you cooked the nishime long, because it´s too tough, it can be reused again…
For the nishime in the picture I had a sidedish of brown rice with corn kernels (from a jar) and brown borlotti beans (from a can) plus gomasio to sprinkle on top, blanched pointed cabbage, and one umeboshi plum as a pickle and to enhance the healing effect of the dish (I shall write about the magical umeboshis some day…).
The second nishime was similar – daikon, carrot, hokkaido pumpkin, but also celery stalks and parsnip. As a side I had sweet millet , leftover adzuki/kombu/pumpkin dish (I will post about that one) with fresh parsley, and I even had some tiny daikon tops (normally they cut them off in shops, sadly, but I had a daikon which had a little bit left, treasure!).