Mizutaki is a Japanese Chicken Hot Pot in which chicken, assorted vegetables, mushrooms, and tofu are cooked in a light kombu dashi broth. Dip the freshly cooked ingredients in the savory and citrusy ponzu sauce. It’s one of the best wintery foods to enjoy!
What is Mizutaki?
Mizu (水) means water in Japanese and taki means simmering. As the name suggests, Mizutaki is a Japanese hot pot dish where the ingredients, mainly chicken, are cooked in water or simple kombu dashi without any seasoning.
Like other hot pot dishes, Mizutaki is typically cooked communally at the table with a portable butane burner. It’s a treat on a wintery day when you enjoy good food and conversations with family and friends over a warm hot pot meal.
Wait… Is Mizutaki Different from Shabu Shabu?
At first glance, Mizutaki may remind you of the most popular Shabu Shabu. Both the hot pots are quite similar, but here are the main differences:
- The base of the soup broth is kombu dashi.
- Thinly sliced beef or pork is cooked in the broth along with other ingredients.
- The base of the soup broth is water or kombu dashi.
- Chicken is cooked for a long time to make the soup broth prior to the meal.
- Minimal ingredients are used so they won’t overpower the rich, savory chicken soup.
A Regional Hot Pot from Kyushu and Kansai (Osaka)
Mizutaki has been eaten mainly in the Kyushu and Kansai (Osaka) regions, but each region has its own version with different cooking methods.
- Originally, water was used to cook the chicken. However, to keep the consistency, the stock/ broth was made hours ahead with chicken bones for a richer flavor. Because it is cooked for a long time, Kyushu-style Mizutaki is known for its cloudy white chicken soup (白濁スープ).
- Uses bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, and chicken meatballs.
- Other common ingredients include green cabbage (less moisture than napa cabbage), Shungiku (chrysanthemum), long green onion (Negi), tofu and shiitake mushrooms.
- Dip in ponzu and yuzu kosho.
- Noodles are added to the soup at the end of the hot pot.
- Kombu dashi (water and dried kelp) is used as a hot pot broth.
- Chicken is used, but you can find pork being used as the main protein.
- Other ingredients include napa cabbage, Shungiku (chrysanthemum), mizuna, spinach, long green onion (negi), tofu, aburaage (deep-fried tofu pouch), shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, daikon radish, carrot, vermicelli (Malony). They vary slightly from home to home.
- Dip in ponzu, Momiji oroshi (grated daikon with chili pepper) and green onion.
- Rice or noodles are added to the soup at the end of the hot pot.
How about the Rest of Japan?
Kansai-style Mizutaki is eaten throughout Japan these days, and Kyushu-style is specifically called Hakata Mizutaki (博多水炊き).
How to Make Mizutaki
As my mother spent most of her childhood in Osaka (her parents are from Nara prefecture), she cooked (Kansai-style) Mizutaki when I was growing up.
In order to make a rich, savory, flavorful soup for the hot pot, I add bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in the kombu dashi to cook for 30 minutes. I also add boneless, skinless chicken thighs so it’s easier for my children to eat.
Here’s the quick breakdown on how to make Mizutaki:
- Make cold brew kombu dashi.
- Pre-boil the chicken to remove the impurities.
- Cook the chicken in kombu dashi to make a flavorful broth.
- Cook the vegetables and other ingredients in the broth.
SHO CHIKU BAI SHIRAKABEGURA KIMOTO Junmai
We normally drink sake chilled but for this hearty chicken hot pot, we paired it with warmed Sho Chiku Bai Shirakabegura Kimoto Junmai sake. We have previously enjoyed the sake with macaroni gratin, and it was just as delightful with a hot pot!
Shirakabegura Kimoto Junmai is unique as it’s made with Kimoto, a traditional process for creating sake yeast starter. Kimoto is more complex than other methods but results in a superior product. This is one of our favorite sakes as it has great texture and flavors, and goes well with most Japanese foods.
After the sake is warmed and poured in the cup, the aroma really shines through compared to when it’s served cold. The sake smells perfumey and bold, like a flower in full bloom. Warming sake enhances the complex flavors and adding layers to an already incredible drink.
At the first sip, the sake feels velvety and creamy. The flavors in the mouth are fruity, earthy tones, with a smooth finish. The liquid immediately clears the palate and you can taste the delicate characters and umami of the sake. What’s great is that the sake doesn’t overpower the food, instead, it accentuates them.
When the warm liquid goes down the throat, it feels like sitting next to a space heater in a cold room and warms you up immediately. We loved the pairing and hope you’ll enjoy Shirakabegura Kimoto Junmai sake with your next hot pot gathering.
Pro Tip: How to Heat Sake
Warm sake is especially delicious on a cold night with a hot pot. Luckily, warming sake is straight forward and here is how:
Fill sake in a tokkuri (sake server) until 1 inch from the top while boiling water in a pot or kettle. I do not recommend warming sake in the microwave.
Pour boiled water in a bowl or container, we use an insulated container (aka kid’s large lunch jar) so the temperature doesn’t drop too fast.
Insert the tokkuri in the container and measure the temperature. It’s important to use boiled water and not warm water because the alcohol content will escape if heated for too long.
After 2-3 min, sake should be around 104 F. Warm sake can be enjoyed anywhere from 105 ºF (40 ºC) to 130 ºF (55 ºC) and it’ll actually taste different at 110, 120, and 130 degrees F. Taste test and see what temperature is your personal preference.
Note: The boiling point of alcohol is much lower than water at 173 F (78 C) so heating sake above 131 F (55 C) is not recommended.
Ingredient Substitutions and Suggestions
- Kombu (Dried Kelp) – Kombu is the most IMPORTANT ingredient that defines the authentic and sophisticated Japanese flavor. If you’re new to Japanese cooking, I recommend learning more about kombu and use it for this hot pot. Soup broth made with kombu kelp is subtle yet filled with umami. It has the taste that you can’t quite describe, and not ordinary chicken soup.
- Chicken – Chicken thighs have more flavor which helps to make really good soup stock for the hot pot. It’s much preferred than chicken breasts, especially if we’re not cooking chicken bones for hours.
- Vegetables – Use what you can get but keep it simple. Use ingredients that do not overpower the delicious chicken soup. Cabbage, leeks, bok choy, etc are great.
- Mushrooms – Feel free to use any kind of mushrooms including enoki mushrooms, button mushrooms, and cremini mushrooms.
- Tofu – You can skip or use Aburaage (deep fry tofu pouch).
Enjoy Mizutaki with Ponzu Dipping Sauce
Once all the ingredients are simmered in broth and cooked through, you can pick them up from the hot pot and dip in the tangy sauce called ponzu (ポン酢) made with citrus and soy sauce. You can add garnish and condiments to the ponzu like chopped scallions, yuzu kosho, and Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7 spice).
If you can’t find ponzu in your local Japanese or Asian grocery store, you can make this ponzu sauce at home. I make and keep this versatile sauce all the time in my refrigerator. Even though I can get a bottle of ponzu at a Japanese grocery store, homemade ponzu sauce is really easy to make and delicious.
Unlike other hot pot that contains seasonings, chicken-based soup broth won’t become salty after simmering for a long time, and it only tastes better! With simple ingredients and a little bit of preparation, you will have a steamy, soul-comforting chicken hot pot to enjoy!
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Mizutaki (Japanese Chicken Hot Pot)
- 1.5 lb napa cabbage (roughly ¼ napa cabbage or 8 leaves)
- 1 negi (long green onion) (or use 2 green onions/scallions)
- ⅔ carrot (3.5 oz, 100 g)
- 6 stalks mizuna (Japanese mustard green) (3 oz, 85g; or other leafy greens)
- 1 medium tofu (momen tofu) (14 oz, 397 g)
- 1 package maitake mushrooms (3.5 oz, 100 g; or other mushrooms)
- 1 package shimeji mushrooms (3.5 oz, 100 g; or other mushrooms)
- 1.3 lb bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (roughly 3 pieces; if you don’t have a butcher knife at home, ask the butcher to cut into smaller pieces)
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (roughly 2 pieces)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make Kombu Dashi
- In a large donabe (earthenware pot, or any large, shallow pot), add 5 cups water and kombu to make cold brew kombu dashi. Set aside while you prep the chicken.
To Prepare the Chicken
- Use a butcher knife, cut the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs into 2-inch bite sizes. You can ask the butcher to cut into smaller pieces as well.
- Cut the boneless skinless chicken thighs into smaller bite size pieces (roughly 2” x 2”).
- Fill a medium pot with water and add the bone-in, skin-on chicken thigh pieces. Turn the heat on medium-low.
- Bring the water to a boil and cook for 1 minute and discard the water. Rinse the chicken, especially around the bone area, under lukewarm water. Don’t use cold water as the fat will solidify. Once the chicken is rinsed, put them on a plate.
To Cook the Chicken
- In the cold brew kombu dashi, add the chicken thigh pieces you just rinsed.
- Also add the boneless, skinless chicken thigh pieces, 2 Tbsp sake, and 2 slices ginger.
- Bring it to a boil over medium heat.
- Once boiling, skim the scum and foam that rise to the surface of the broth. Discard the kombu.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook covered for 30 minutes. During this time, start preparing other ingredients (vegetables, etc). After 30 minutes, remove and discard the ginger slices. Keep the pot covered. If you’re preparing ahead of time, you can keep it for 1-2 hours at room temperature until you’re ready to serve.
To Prepare Hot Pot Ingredients (While Cooking the Chicken)
- Cut the napa cabbage into smaller bites and place them on a large platter.
- Cut the long green onion (negi) diagonally into ½-inch thickness.
- Peel and discard the outer skin of the carrot. Then thinly peel the carrot into thin strips.
- Cut the mizuna into 2-inch pieces and cut the tofu into 9 pieces.
- Discard the bottom of the maitake mushrooms and shimeji mushrooms.
- Place all the chopped ingredients on a big platter or several plates. When the hot pot broth is ready, you can bring them to the table and have everyone cook together.
To Cook Mizutaki (at the table)
- From the platter of ingredients, you can add tough/dense ingredients first. Add the napa cabbage, mostly the tough white parts. Then add tofu, mushrooms, and long green onion.
- Add the carrot strips in the middle and cover to cook for 10 minutes.
- Open the lid and add leafy vegetables which will cook for a few minutes until tender and fully cooked.
- Add a little ponzu sauce in a small bowl, and if you like, add green onion, yuzu kosho, and shichimi togarashi. Dip the cooked ingredients in the ponzu before eating. As you eat the cooked ingredients, continue to add the raw ingredients to the pot and simmer them until fully cooked. Enjoy!