Shabu-Shabu Japanese Hot Pot Stew

by Celeste Heiter, Dec 28, 2002 | Destinations: Japan / Tokyo

These guests are seated around a dinner table featuring one of Japan's many 'hot pot' dishes. Diners cook their own food in the simmering broth and remove it one bite at at time.

Shabu-Shabu is one of Japan's many 'hot pot' recipes, traditionally served in a simmering kettle over a brazier in the center of the dinner table. A wintertime favorite of families all over Japan, Shabu-Shabu is named for the swishing motion made by the chopsticks as they cook the various ingredients of their individual portions at the table. A crockpot on the high setting will serve as a handy substitute. To serve Shabu-Shabu, you will need several small dipping dishes for each person.

Shabu Shabu (4 Servings)

1 pound of good quality beef sliced paper-thin
1 Chinese cabbage, washed and trimmed
1 bunch of fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
12 shitake mushrooms
1 package of firm tofu, cut into 1" cubes
1 package of cellophane noodles, boiled for 1 minute and drained
1 daikon radish
4" piece of konbu
1 bunch of scallions
Dashi (see recipe)
Soy sauce
Lemon juice

First, prepare the condiments and dipping sauce:

To make ponzu dipping sauce, combine:
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup mild soy sauce
¼ cup dashi (see recipe)
¼ cup mirin

Grate the daikon radish into a finely shredded mound and place in small serving dishes.

Wash, trim and finely slice the scallions. Place in small serving dishes.

Arrange the fresh ingredients (beef, noodles, cabbage, spinach, mushrooms, and tofu) on a large serving plate or on individual plates. Place the crockpot in the center of the dinner table and fill with 6 cups of water. Add the konbu and bring to a boil on the high setting. When the water boils, remove and discard the konbu. Add salt to taste.

Gather your family and/or guests around the table. Serve each one a pair of chopsticks, a small dish of shredded daikon, a dish of sliced scallions, and a dish of ponzu.

Add some of each of the fresh vegetables (cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, noodles and tofu) to the simmering pot. While the vegetables are simmering, have your guests take a slice of the beef and swish it around in the broth for about a minute or until done. Remove the meat and vegetables from the broth one piece at a time and dip them in the sauces and condiments before eating.

When the meat and vegetables are gone, the broth can be ladled into bowls as a clear soup.