Chanko Nabe (Sumo Stew) ちゃんこ鍋 | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Chanko Nabe (Sumo Stew)

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: hot pot
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Chanko Nabe or Sumo Stew is a robust hot pot filled with all kinds of vegetables and tons of protein in a rich dashi and chicken broth.  This well-balanced meal is traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers but also enjoyed at home or some restaurants. 


For the broth:

  • 6 cups chicken broth (1440 ml)
  • ¼ cup sake (60 ml)
  • cup mirin (75 ml)
  • 2 Tbsp ginger juice (use grater and squeeze grated ginger to get the juice; See Notes)
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ cup miso (preferably white miso; 8 Tbsp)

For the chicken meatballs:

  • ½ lb ground chicken (227 g)
  • 1 large egg (beaten and halved)
  • 2 tsp ginger juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 6 Tbsp panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 3 Tbsp green onions/scallions (finely chopped)

For the stew:

  • Chicken meatballs (follow instructions)
  • 1 ½ lb cod fillet (680 g)
  • 8 shrimp
  • 6 oz sliced pork belly (170 g)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 package medium-firm tofu (14 oz)
  • ½ head napa cabbage
  • 2 Negi (long green onion)
  • 6 green onions/scallions
  • 4-6 shiitake mushrooms
  • ¼ carrot (for decoration; sliced and cut out with a vegetable cutter)

For serving:

  • ponzu (See Notes for Homemade Ponzu recipe)
  • sesame sauce (Recipe)
  • 2-3 cups cooked Japanese short-grain rice (4-6 cups udon noodles)


To make the broth:

  1. Gather all the ingredients for Chanko Nabe Broth.
    Chanko Nabe Ingredients 1
  2. To make the broth, in a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat, combine the broth, sake, mirin, ginger juice, and garlic and bring to a simmer.
    Chanko Nabe 1
  3. Spoon several spoonfuls of broth into a small bowl, add the miso, and stir until smooth.
    Chanko Nabe 2
  4. Gradually add the miso mixture to the broth in the pot, stirring to avoid lumps. Once the miso has been incorporated, do not let the broth boil.
    Chanko Nabe 3

To make the chicken meatballs:

  1. Gather all the ingredients.
    Chanko Nabe Ingredients 2
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, ½ beaten egg (reserve the remaining egg for another use), the ginger juice, soy sauce, corn starch, panko, and green onion. Using your hands, mix all together.
    Chanko Nabe 4
  3. Once the mixture becomes a little bit white and well combined, shape the mixture into a ball. Sprinkle with panko as needed.
    Chanko Nabe 5

To cut all the ingredients:

  1. Cut the cod fillet into 2-inch chunks, peel and devein shrimp, cut the sliced pork belly into 2-inch pieces, trim the visible fat from the chicken thighs and cut into bite-sized pieces, cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes, and separate the leaves from napa cabbage and cut them into smaller pieces. Slice the carrot and cut out with a flower-shaped vegetable cutter.

    Chanko Nabe 6
  2. Cut Negi (long green onion) diagonally into 1-inch-thick pieces, cut the green onions into 2-inch lengths, and remove stems of shiitake mushrooms and make a decorative cut on the caps if desired.

    Chanko Nabe 7

To set up the table:

  1. To prepare the stew ingredients, place the meatballs, seafood, pork belly, chicken, tofu, carrot slices, napa cabbage, long green onion, green onions, and mushrooms on the platter.

    Chanko Nabe 8
  2. Pour the ponzu sauce and sesame sauce (goma dare) into individual dipping bowls at each place setting along with chopsticks, a soup spoon (optional) and a soup bowl.

  3. Place a portable gas burner and the nabe, and the stew ingredients on the table.

To cook Chanko Nabe:

  1. If cooking the stew ingredients on the stovetop, cook in batches. Add some of each of the ingredients to the broth, simmer (do not boil) until cooked, and serve them, returning to the stove to start a new batch as each previous batch is eaten. The vegetables and tofu cook more quickly than the meatballs, seafood, and chicken.

    Chanko Nabe 9
  2. Keep the broth at a simmer the entire time. If the liquid gets low, add a little water or chicken broth to have enough liquid to heat the noodles or rice at the end (even though you are thinning the broth, the flavorful ingredients you are cooking in it continue to enrich it).

  3. When diners are ready, remove any solids in the broth and add the noodles or rice. Simmer until heated through, then ladle into the soup bowls and serve.

Recipe Notes

Juice from Ginger: This grater (I have 6 inch one) works great for grating ginger (daikon, garlic, etc) and keeping the juice from grating it. In this recipe, we only use the ginger juice.


Homemade Ponzu recipe, click here.


If you don’t have a gas burner, you can cook the stew on the stovetop, transfer it to a large bowl, and serve it family style.


Recipe reprinted (and slightly adapted) with permission from Let’s Cook Japanese Food!: Everyday recipes for authentic dishes by Amy Kaneko (Weldon Owen, March 2017).