Nabé Time!

Another winter season has almost come and gone, but before it ends, we were wondering:

Have you cracked out your nabe pot yet?

These little beauties are wonderful for dropping everything that you love into a pot and letting the magic work. If you’ve never made nabe before or are looking for something new to inspire you, we have two recipes to share today! Take them as a starting point to work off of: substitute dashi with chicken broth or miso, chicken with pork or stay vegetarian, and swap out noodles in the pot for rice on the side, carrots for sweet potatoes, plus anything else you can think of!

どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare) !

sukiyaki banner

Let’s start with a classic.

Sukiyaki sauce
100mL of sake
50mL of mirin
50 mL of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar

Ingredients
200g of thinly sliced beef
200g of Chinese cabbage – white hearts cut out and sliced, leaves chopped
100g of shungiku – Japanese chrysanthemum leaves
150g seared firm tofu, sliced
1 packet of konnyaku noodles cooked in boiling water for 2 minutes, then plunged in ice water bath for a few minutes and drained
1 negi (Japanese scallion or leek), sliced thinly and diagonally
4 shiitake mushrooms – stalks removed, with a star-flower cut on the mushroom cap
Enoki mushrooms, ends trimmed and gently separated

Optional dipping
1 raw egg, beaten

Before you approach the nabe pot, make sure that the konnyaku noodles are cooked, cooled, and strained, and that the sukiyaki sauce has been brought to a boil and simmered for a couple of minutes.

Begin by adding a few tablespoons of the sauce to the nabe pot and then turning on the heat to medium-high. As it comes to temperature, add the beef and brown it on all sides before pushing it to one side of the pot. Add the other ingredients, beginning with those that have a longer cooking time, such as negi, the whites of the cabbage, and the konnyaku noodles. Keep the konnyaku and the beef separated, as konnyaku makes beef tough when cooked together. Then, add the lighter ingredients such as mushrooms, tofu, and shungiku, and pour the rest of the sauce on top. Place the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, occasionally running cooking chopsticks or a spoon down the side of the pot to make sure that softer ingredients like tofu and mushrooms aren’t sticking to the sides and burning.

Before serving, give the medley a light mix to disperse the flavours. Serve into large bowls and, when eating, why not try the traditional Japanese dip of some raw egg before each mouthful? Your MAJET chef promises you that it’s delicious!

 

improv banner
This was total recipe improvisation. Your MAJET chef thought about what foods they liked and what flavour they wanted to try pairing, and voilà! Don’t be shy to explore different mathemagical formulas that await you on your kitchen shelves.

Dashi Concoction
1/4 cup sake
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dashi
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of grated ginger

Ingredients
1 negi (Japanese scallion or leek), chopped
Enoki mushrooms, ends trimmed and gently separated
Nameko mushrooms, separated
1 carrot, cut into bite-size pieces
A few leaves of Chinese cabbage – white hearts cut out and sliced, leaves chopped
Firm tofu, cut into bite-size cubes
Chikuwa (Japanese fish cake)
1 pound of chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

Pour the broth concoction into the nabe pot and bring it to a boil to evaporate some of the alcohol. Reduce heat and taste the soup to adjust the seasoning before adding the ingredients.

Start adding the noms! As before, begin with those foods that have a longer cooking time and then layer on the lighter foods. Once everything is in the pot, put the lid on and return to a light boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. Periodically remove the lid and give the pot a stir, to make sure soft foods like tofu and mushrooms aren’t sticking to the sides of the nabe pot and burning. Once everything is cooked to your desired degree, serve it up! Yes, it’s just that simple.

 

If you’re a JET ALT, chances are that your predecessor left you a nabe pot, so have a rummage if you haven’t seen it yet! If you weren’t left one, don’t worry, they’re easy to pick up in the kitchen section of any hardware store.

You can cook with your nabe pot on your kitchen stove or on a portable gas burner. Gas burners are fun to bring to the table and allow everyone to cook together!

You can cook with your nabe pot on your kitchen stove or on a portable gas burner. Gas burners are fun to bring to the table and allow everyone to cook together!

Here’s to your own, unique nabe adventures with fresh, seasonal ingredients and mouth-watering soups you come up with to stew them all together. Share your winning recipes in comments on this post or on our Facebook page!

 

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