Sick of nabe yet? I’m not! We tend to start eating nabe some time in November and continue right up until early spring, so there are still a few weeks left to enjoy hot pot dishes of all types. (Cranking up the air conditioner and eating spicy nabe is also a decent way to feel revived during the disgustingly humid days of summer, albeit not a very environmentally friendly one.)
This nabe was inspired by Otona no Shūmatsu, which my husband Tsuyoshi reads every month. The title means “Adult Weekend” but don’t misinterpret it as the type of publication that’s sold in plastic sleeves at the convenience store – it’s actually a magazine about “gurume” (food and dining) with a heavy focus on seasonal foods and restaurants in Tokyo. The February issue contained a picture of an oyster nabe from some restaurant made with yuzu fruit. Given my obsessive love of yuzu, this immediately struck us as a fantastic idea and we set out to create our own version without the oysters, although I’m sure the oysters would be a good addition for people who like them (I tend to prefer nabe without shellfish, which makes everything else taste like shellfish).
Unlike the nabe recipes I’ve already posted, this nabe does not involve simmering different ingredients for a long period of time. Instead, the individual ingredients are dipped into the broth and cooked likely shabu-shabu style, which allows you to enjoy the unique flavors of each type of vegetable with only a slight touch of seasoning. The broth isn’t very heavily flavored so using high quality dashi is very important, and since we made it stronger than usual I included it in the recipe here. We added tōmyō (pea sprouts) because they were on sale, but as always you can substitute as needed with whatever vegetables are fresh and available in your area.
2 liters water
2 pieces konbu
1 big handful katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
A couple of niboshi (dried baby sardines) or a small handful of niboshibushi (niboshi flakes)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons usukuchi (light colored) soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake
1 teaspoon salt
1 large yuzu or 1.5 small yuzu
200 grams thinly sliced pork
1 large block silken tofu
2 pieces abura-age (fried tofu)
2 negi (Welsh onions)
8 shiitake mushrooms
1 package (100 grams) shimeji mushrooms
1 package (100 grams) maitake mushrooms
1 package (180 grams) enoki mushrooms
1 package (100 grams) moyashi (bean sprouts)
1/4 hakusai (Chinese cabbage)
A couple handful of greens (mizuna, tōmyō, seri, etc.)
2-3 servings fresh udon or thawed frozen udon noodles
Ponzu (soy sauce flavored with citrus)
Momoji oroshi (grated daikon radish and red pepper)
Yuzu koshō (yuzu pepper paste)
- Make the dashi. Heat the konbu in the water until just before boiling, and then remove from heat. Add the fish flakes and/or niboshi and let sit for about five minutes. Strain.
- Wash the yuzu well and cut them in half. Squeeze and strain the juice. Use a spoon to remove any pulp or pith remaining in the yuzu halves and reserve to float in the broth (if you are feeling particularly fancy you might want to throw the used halves away and cut slices from a fresh yuzu).
- Wash and cut the vegetables and tofu into a convenient size for dipping and arrange on plates.
- Add 1.5 liters of the dashi, yuzu juice, soy sauce, sake, salt, and yuzu skins to the nabe. Place on a portable burner at the table or the stove and cook over medium heat until boiling.
- Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and allow each guest to dip and cook the ingredients of their choosing. The thinly sliced pork should be swished through the broth until fully cooked, but the vegetables only need to be lightly cooked until soft before being eaten. Use the condiments suggested above if desired.
- Finish the meal by adding the udon noodles to the broth. Be careful to remove and eat them before they become overcooked and too soft.