Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Every so often, our local Japanese grocer (Nijiya) has a meat day.
We usually miss it because we forget, but this time we had a handy reminder flyer.  We bought some thinly sliced marbled beef and decided to make shabu-shabu!

Shabu-shabu is a hot pot dish where you dip your food in boiling water, and then eat it with some sauce.  We'd never made it before, so we used this recipe as a guide.  The name shabu-shabu is the sound the chopsticks make while fishing food around in the water! Swish swish!

I'm going to note here that our food presentation (an important part of any Japanese cooking) is sorely lacking.  We ate this while standing in the kitchen over the stove.  No judging.

First, some vegetables!
We used some green onion (cut into 2 inch pieces), tofu (bad idea), shiitake mushrooms (cut into quarters), chrysanthemum leaves (also called shungiku, delicious!) and napa cabbage.

While cutting up the veggies, we placed some plain water in a pot along with some konbu (kelp) knots.
 Bring to a boil!
Next we put out some sauces, ponzu (citrus-soy sauce) and goma-dare (sesame sauce).
We also grated a bit of daikon.
Daikon is also great pickled, which I'll probably do with the rest of it!
Veggies set!

Here's our beautiful meat-day sliced shabu shabu beef!
Missing from the veggie picture is the wheat gluten.  You buy it dried and then soak it til it's soft in some warm water.
Neither of us were a big fan of the wheat gluten, so next time I think we'll leave the carbs out.

Then we stood over the stove with our dippy sauce, dippy ingredients, and pot of kelp-water, ready to eat!
Take your chopsticks and get to work! So good!

We found it easiest to cook a few of the veggies at a time, and then eat them.  I'd skip the tofu next time since it was impossible to pick up from the pot, and even started disintegrating.  Maybe I need super-extra-firm tofu.  Also, we'd cut the cabbage down smaller next time, as it was a bit unwieldy.  And don't try to eat the konbu (kelp) knots unless you really like the taste of the ocean.  Just sayin'!

But overall it was delicious!  Though standing around the stove was kind of lame. Maybe I'll buy a table-top hot pot someday.

Have you had shabu-shabu before?


  1. Yum! This looks so good. We went to a Shabu Shabu place in Japantown a few months ago... It was my first experience, and I'd been hoping to try and make it at home.

  2. Shabu-shabu is one of my favorites!! We always have it with my aunt when we go back for CA, she makes it at home. I have a great dipping sauce recipe if you want it! We use extra firm tofu and it doesn't disintegrate. And we actually throw a bunch of food in at once except for the meat, which we put in when we feel like it and cook to taste. We also add wontons, mochi, and udon noodles. Napa cabbage is my favorite! (I've never heard of adding wheat gluten -- we just have a bowl of rice on the side.) Oh, and shiitake mushrooms (or enoki or button or whatever) are awesome, too. =) Let me know if you'd like the recipe for the sauce!

  3. I LOVE shabu shabu! So much so that I bought the table top butane stove. It's so much fun to eat with friends over. Perhaps you should invest in some brass wire simmers to help pick up the tofu?

  4. Great job on your first time. You have most of all the ingredients for sukiyaki too. =)

    Here's some pointers:
    1)kombu: Usually you use a thicker flat type, not the knots. Also waaay too many. If you want to use knots, I think 4 max. You should soak it in the pot+water for 30min+, then heat, and take out before it boils. If you leave it in there it makes the soup cloudy and gets a bitter taste.
    2)Daikon: Since you already had it, throw in a 1-2 inch cut (peeled) round of it. It makes great broth.
    2) Tofu: Stick to firm or broiled. Also great are the fritters they have hijiki, carrot, and burdock in them. Or some fried tofu puffs. Just make sure put the fritter or fried tofu items in a strainer and pour boiling water over them to "wash" away the old oil. Most of this stuff is right next to the tofu or oden set area.
    3)Cutting: I usually take a scissor (ghetto I know) cut down the middle of the meat while its still in the tray, makes it faster to cook and more bit size.
    4)Get some small metal strainers or slotted spoon to fish out the goodies from the broth.

    We also put in pea shoot, enoki, udon, shrimp, fish ball/cake, beef balls and wontons.

    Looks like a great start to hot potting.

    1. Thank you so much for the tips neko!! I will follow your instructions next time!

  5. Taste of ocean. hahah. Yeah... kind of ghetto standing over the stove! :oP Definitely get firm tofu! Ours doesn't disinegrate!

  6. Yum! Ultimate comfort food. My mom loved to make shabu shabu for dinner when I was growing up because I wouldn't pester her about when it was done. We had a hot pot so my favorite memories are sitting with my parents at the dinner table and eating shabu shabu :) In Japan, Dave and I loved going to all-you-can-eat shabu shabu places, and there are a couple here in S.F. too! We love shabu shabu! I wish we could make it at home but yeah, standing over the stove doesn't sound like much fun. Until you get a hot pot I recommend Shabu House on Geary :)

    1. Is it all you can eat? Ill have to drag sak up to the city!

  7. i would never think to do shabu shabu at home--what a great idea. and thank you for mentioning that they're chrysanthemum leaves--i never knew what they were in english, and i love them.

  8. You guys are all pros! Next time i wont be ghetto over the stove, lol!

  9. Shabu-shabu is really good with fishballs, too! I personally like to put a lot of mushrooms and pumpkin/squash in the broth and then leave it there while I cook the other things, I think it makes the broth a lot more flavorful.

    Man now I want shabu-shabu. Hmm, there's a good place close to where I work... <3

  10. I would do it with all the aforementioned stuff like the fishballs, wonton etc, but that would become Chinese hotpot, rather than Shabu-Shabu?
    Chinese throw in ANYTHING that cooks in one piece in hotpots.

    Just try to get some strainers and probably invest in a portable gas stove if you plan to do this often. Get the strainers in Chinese grocery shops, and try not to get the gold wire ones. Those tend to catch on to Enoki mushrooms.


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