By Robert Giulietti For the North American Post
Shabu-shabu — 4 Servings
Hot Pot Broth
2 ½ tsp Ajinomoto Hondashi Powder (Grocery Aisle 4A)
6 cups Water (Grocery Aisle 7A)
1 tsp Cooking Sake (Grocery Aisles 3B, 10)
Hot Pot Ingredients
4 cups Chopped Nappa Cabbage (Produce Dept)
½ cup Chopped Shiitake Mushrooms (Produce Dept)
1 pk Diced Tofu (Seafood Dept)
1 lb Thinly Sliced Sukiyaki style Beef (Meat Dept)
Ajinomoto Rich Sesame Sauce (Grocery Special $3.69)
Ajinomoto Spicy Miso Sauce (Grocery Special $3.69)
Ajinomoto Spicy Shoyu Sauce (Grocery Special $3.69)
Prepare the table: Shabu-shabu, or hot pot style food, is as much an experience as it is a delicious meal. It is meant to be shared with a group of people in an open and interactive setting. There are no strict rules to inhibit your experience with regard to setup and/or ingredients, so please use this recipe as a guideline to “single pot” dining as is done in many Asian countries. Place a large “Nabe” (na-beh) style pot in the center of the table on top of a portable burner. Provide side bowls and smaller dishes for dipping sauces for each guest. Other helpful tools include skimmers, chopsticks, hot pot spoons and sauce dispensers. Note: If you lack any of these setup items, you will be able to find them at your favorite Asian grocery/gift market.
Prepare broth: Mix dashi powder with water and bring to a simmer. Add sake and reduce heat until broth is at a gentle simmer. Optional: Rather than use instant dashi powder, combine water with konbu (kelp) seaweed, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and add katsuobushi or shaved bonito flakes and sake. Remove konbu and katsuobushi with a strainer and allow the broth to gently simmer.
Add ingredients: Once the broth maintains a gentle simmer, add cabbage, tofu and mushrooms and increase the heat to bring the broth back to a simmer – about two minutes. Once the broth is simmering, reduce the heat and get ready to eat! Optional recommended ingredients (be creative): Vegetables— spinach, yu choy sum, baby bok choy, shingiku, mizuna, daikon, watercress, leeks, green onion, Tokyo negi. Mushrooms—oyster, crimini, shimeji, maitake, hedgehog, enoki. Thinly sliced meats—pork, chicken, lamb, beef. Noodles—shirataki noodles, udon, rice noodles, bean thread noodles. Note: If you would like to find these ingredients, they are usually available at your favorite Asian grocery/gift market.
Enjoy: Prepare dipping sauces in smaller side dishes. Distribute about half of the vegetables, tofu and mushrooms in the side bowls. At any time, each individual is to dip one slice of beef into the simmering broth for about 15 seconds until the surface is cooked. Immediately remove the beef from of the pot, dip it into your chosen sauce, and enjoy!