When I think of the quintessential winter time dish, it has to be nabe ryori. Nabe is Japanese hot pot and like most hot pot dishes, you can put anything in it. It’s like the Asian version of stone soup. There are a few standard items that are usually part of most nabe dishes but there are many types of nabe such as fugu nabe, kimchi nabe or mizutaki (Fukuoka specialty). There are also different ways of eating nabe and it’s even said that each household has their own way of eating nabe.
This recipe is my take on nabe and the way I grew up eating it. I used most of the standard nabe ingredients but as I mentioned earlier, anything goes so put in whatever ingredients you and your family likes. Traditionally, most nabe ingredients call for hakusai, negi, shiitake, shirataki, shungiku, enoki, tofu, fish balls (made from a fish paste) and thinly sliced or large cuts of fresh fish and cooked in a fish broth.
Make sure that you don’t get called a Nabebugyo (鍋奉行) from your family/friends when eating nabe. The person who controls the nabe pot is called a Nabebugyo. It is often used to describe a person who is bossy because the person who controls the nabe pot dictates what goes in the pot and who eats what. Bugyo was a political position (equivalent to a govenor) during and before the Edo Period (1603 to 1868). Therefore, Nabebugyo is a person of authority who controls the nabe.
List of Common Ingredients
- fish balls/(chikuwa/kamaboko) fish cake
- thin slices of fish
- large cuts of fish
- chicken thigh (for mizutaki nabe)
Not as common but ingredients I like to add
Gomadare Ingredients (Servings 2)
2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp. miso
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. dashijiru
Directions for gomadare
- Grind up the sesame seeds finely in a suribachi (mortar and pestle)
- Add the miso, sugar and dashijiru (from the pot) and mix well. (I like the keep the sauce on the thick side and use the broth from the pot to thin out the sauce as I eat it.)
Soy Sauce Tare
The soy sauce tare is a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce and ponzu. I like a little acidity in my tare. I add a 1-2 teaspoons in my bowl as I pull items out of the nabe.