Shabu shabu, an onomatopoeia for “swish swish”, is a Japanese communal hotpot dish consisting of thinly-sliced meat and vegetables boiled in dashi-based soup. A unique and interactive way to dine with family and friends, everyone cooks together when eating shabu shabu!
Since shabu shabu is cooked directly at the dinner table, preparing it simply includes two main steps: making broth and arranging raw ingredients on platters.
To make shabu shabu broth, soak konbu (dried kelp) in a pot of water for at least two hours. The konbu will flavor the water as it reconstitutes, turning it into umami-rich konbu dashi. Remove the rehydrated kelp from the pot and set it aside for future use, such as being repurposed into konbu tsukudani. Next, add a pack of awase dashi into the stock and simmer for 6-7 minutes before removing. Lastly, add in soy sauce and mirin to provide more depth of flavor. Your shabu shabu broth is ready!
Meanwhile, arrange your raw meat and vegetables on separate platters. In this recipe, we use thinly-sliced pork belly and pork loin as our protein options, but thinly-sliced beef is also a popular choice. You can also use seafood like shrimp, crab sticks, or squid. For vegetables, we use onions, cabbage, and chrysanthemum leaves, but the options are endless. Popular shabu shabu ingredients also include mushrooms, long green onion, carrots, tofu, any leafy green, and udon noodles. Feel free to mix and match depending on your guests’ preferences!
To enjoy shabu shabu at the dinner table, set up a portable gas stove and place your pot of broth over the flames. Take turns placing ingredients into the boiling soup and fishing them out to enjoy right away. Shabu shabu is a great way to bring people together to share a home-cooked meal.
- 15g ma-konbu (true konbu)
- 3 small onions
- ¼ cabbage
- 300g pork belly (sliced)
- 300g pork loin (sliced)
- 1 bunch chrysanthemum leaf (can substitute with spinach)
- 1 awase dashi pack
- 600ml water
- 100ml soy sauce
- 100ml mirin
- Fill a pot with water and soak the konbu for about 2 hrs. (If you don't have time, cut a slit in the konbu and heat it as is).
- Cut the onions and cabbage into thin strips and soak in water.
- Meanwhile, add 1 awase dashi pack (1 package of konbu and 2 packages of katsuobushi) to 600ml of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 6-7 mins. Remove the packages and add the soy sauce and mirin.
- Now it’s time to shabu shabu! Bring the soup from step 3 to a boil and add the pork belly, pork loin, onions, cabbage and chrysanthemum leaf (or spinach), eating the ingredients as they are cooked.
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.