Hot Pot for One 白菜と豚バラの一人鍋 – ‘Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories’

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  • Fast, easy Hot Pot for One.  Tender pork belly cooked in a delicious and savory katsuo dashi with napa cabbage and enoki mushrooms.  Inspired by Midnight Diner Japanese drama.

    Hot Pot for One with Napa Cabbage & Sliced Pork Belly on a table.

    The popular Japanese TV program called Shinya Shokudo (深夜食堂) or ’Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories‘ is now available on Netflix.  The show features Japanese dishes that are more representative of home cooked recipes than Japanese Restaurant menu items in the US.

    Since the drama doesn’t provide detailed ingredients and step by step instructions, I started to share these copycat recipes on my blog.  Today’s recipe is Hot Pot for One, the Japanese title forthis dish is Napa Cabbage and Pork Belly Hot Pot for One (白菜と豚バラの一人鍋).

    Watch How To Make Hot Pot for One

    Click here to watch on YouTube

    Hot Pot for One with Napa Cabbage & Sliced Pork Belly on a wooden table.

    Why do we need a Hot Pot for One

    Although you can make this recipe into two or four servings easily, I thought of some situations that would be suitable for enjoy a hot pot for one:

    • Comforting late night meal for someone working/studying hard (Otsukaresama! You did good today!).
    • Quick and easy yet fancy lunch for stay-at-home moms/dads and people working from home (No more leftovers!).
    • Nutritious and easy home-cooked dinner for singles (Ditch takeout tonight!).
    • Light meal for someone under the weather (Get well soon…).
    • Separate meal for an elder family member (Eat well and enjoy!).
    • Or simply, a huge fan of Midnight Diner and want to eat like that (including myself!).

    Hot Pot for One with Napa Cabbage & Sliced Pork Belly on a table.

    Other Ingredient Choices for Hot Pot for One

    There are many other ingredients that you can substitute to use in this recipe:

    • Mushrooms (shiitake, shimeji)
    • Green vegetables (spinach, bok choy, cabbage, green beans)
    • Root vegetables (carrots, turnips, gobo, daikon radish)
    • Meat (sliced pork/beef)
    • Seafood (white fish, shrimp, squid, crab, fish cakes)
    • Noodles (udon, vermicelli, konnyaku, cellophane)

    Hot Pot with Napa Cabbage & Sliced Pork Belly in a pot and a small dish.

    3 Reasons to Get Donabe (Japanese Earthenware Pot)

    1. Good Heat Retention

    Compared to metal pot, donabe increase the temperature of the pot slowly and gently.  Once the temperature is optimal and heat is reduced, it retains the heat well.  Other great use for donabe include cooking rice, as you can slowly cook the rice on lower heat and the rice will be cooked to perfection.

    2. Beautiful Design

    The donabe pot looks beautiful at the dining table when you cook hot pot.


    The food cooked in donabe is really delicious though I am not sure why.  The delicate flavors for dishes like rice porridge (Okayu), hot pot, and Yudofu (hot tofu) are accentuated.  There has been scientific studies done proving that using gentle heat to cook food in donabe brings out umami from the food (by measuring the amino acid amount).

    You should also know Cons:

    • Requires space to store
    • Easy to chip
    • Heavy

    Donabes on a wooden table.

    How To Season Donabe before Making Hot Pot for One

    When you buy a donabe, you have to season it before you use it for the first time.  Please read this post for tutorial.

    Hot Pot, Napa Cabbage & Sliced Pork Belly in a small bowl.

    Now back to the dish itself, while preparing for the the video shoot, it took very little time for me to gather all the ingredients.  They are things I have readily in my fridge beside the katsuo dashi.  If you never made katsuo dashi before, don’t worry, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is.  The dashi is key to this dish so please do not skip.  The umami from the katsuo dashi get soaked up by during the cooking process (5 minutes) and it makes all the ingredients taste better.

    We like to drizzle a bit of ponzu in our soup or on the side to dip the ingredients.  How do you like your hot pot?  Let me know in the comments below.

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    5 from 1 vote
    Hot Pot for One with Napa Cabbage & Sliced Pork Belly (白菜と豚バラの一人鍋) | Easy Japanese Recipes at
    Hot Pot for One
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    8 mins
    Total Time
    20 mins
    Course: Main Course
    Servings: 1
    For Katsuo Dashi:
    For Hot Pot:
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Hot Pot for One Ingredients
    To Make Katsuo Dashi
    1. Boil water in a medium saucepan. When boiling, add katsuobushi.
      Hot Pot for One 1
    2. Cook for 15 seconds. Turn off the heat and let the katsuobushi infused for 15 minutes.  Strain the katsuobushi and set aside.

      Hot Pot for One 2
    To Make Hot Pot
    1. Cut the napa cabbage into smaller pieces.
      Hot Pot for One 3
    2. Cut and discard the bottom of enoki mushrooms.  Cut the tofu into smaller ½” slices.  Cut the pork belly slices into halves or thirds.
      Hot Pot for One 4
    3. Place the ingredients in the donabe (earthenware pot) and pack nicely. Pour Katsuo Dashi and sake.
      Hot Pot for One 5
    4. Cover the lid and bring to simmer. Skim the foam and scrum with a fine mesh skimmer. Cook for 5 minutes and serve immediately with Ponzu and Shichimi Togarashi.

      Hot Pot for One 6
    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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