Chikuzenni is a simmered dish using various ingredients such as carrot, burdock root, lotus root, shiitake mushroom, bamboo shoot, chicken, and Japanese yam. It is a classic Japanese dish traditionally served on new year’s day, but is also popular as everyday meal because it can be saved for few days after it is made and still tastes good. Chikuzenni also became a popular school lunch menu.
The way chikuzenni is made is by sautéing chicken and root vegetables with oil, and then simmer them in soup stock. The vegetable should be simmered until they get tender and the flavor of the soup stock is absorbed. For new year’s dish, carrots and lotus roots are cut in fancy shapes like flowers, but for daily meal, they are simply cut into small pieces.
Chikuzenni is named after the old Chikuzen province in present Fukuoka prefecture. In Fukuoka prefecture, chikuzenni is called gameni. There is one theory that the word gameni comes from the word “gamekurikomu” meaning mixture in Hakata dialect from Fukuoka city.
In nowadays, gameni uses chicken is widely known as chikuzenni. Since the history of chikuzenni is old, in the old days, tuna was used instead of chicken. The characteristic of chikuzenni is that it uses lots of root vegetables, and there is a wish that children who eat chikuzenni become strong from the root.