Shabu Shabu is a popular Japanese-style hot pot where the meat and assorted vegetables are cooked in a flavorful broth called kombu dashi. Everyone at the table takes part in the cooking and enjoys the ingredients with different dipping sauces. It's intimate yet casual, and a whole lot of fun!
If you are going to make homemade sesame and ponzu sauces, follow the recipe links in the ingredient list. You can make the sauces ahead of time.
To Prepare Broth
Fill a donabe (or Dutch oven or any large pot) two-thirds full with water. Add kombu and soak in water for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, you can prepare ingredients. The right image shows the kombu dashi broth after 30 minutes.
To Prepare Ingredients
Prepare udon noodles according to the instructions. Put frozen udon in boiling water and reheat for 1 minute. Transfer to iced water to stop cooking with remaining heat, and drain well. Serve on a plate and set aside. You'll add udon noodles to the donabe after all the ingredients are cooked and eaten.
Cut napa cabbages into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces, and then cut each piece into half or thirds.
Cut the shungiku into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces.
We only use the white part of negi (green onion/leeks). Cut it diagonally into ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick pieces.
Rinse enoki and shimeji mushrooms. Discard the bottom of both mushrooms and separate into smaller chunks.
Cut the carrot into ¼ inch rounds. If you like, you can use a vegetable cutter to create a flower shape.
Cut the tofu into 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick square pieces.
Arrange all the ingredients on a serving platter.
Peel daikon and grate using the grater (I love and use this one all the time). Squeeze grated daikon gently and put in a small bowl.
Cut the green onions into thin rounds and put it in a bowl.
Prepare shichimi togarashi in a bowl (optional). Lay the thinly sliced beef on a plate.
To Cook Shabu Shabu
Set a portable gas burner and put the donabe on the stove. Place platters with ingredients on the table. Give each person a ponzu sauce and sesame sauce. I also like to prepare an additional bowl for each person so they can use it to cool the food.
Bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat. Take out the kombu right before water starts to boil (otherwise, the water gets slimy).
Add the tofu, the tough part of napa cabbage and shungiku, negi, carrots, and some mushrooms. You don’t have to put all the ingredients and cook in batches. Cover to cook for 10 minutes.
To Eat Shabu Shabu
While you’re waiting for the food to cook, prepare your dipping sauces. Add grated daikon, shichimi togarashi, and green onion in ponzu, and green onion in sesame sauce.
When you want to eat meat, pick up a slice of thinly sliced beef with a set of communal chopsticks and stir the meat in the boiling broth to cook for 20-30 seconds, or until the meat is no longer pink. Do not overcook the meat.
Take out the cooked beef and vegetables from the pot when they are done, and dip the food in ponzu or sesame sauce.
Add remaining ingredients in the boiling broth as needed and simmer for a few minutes. Skim off the scum and foam from the surface as you cook. Prepare a fine mesh skimmer and a 2-cup measuring cup or bowl filled with water at the table so you can easily skim as you cook. Water in the measuring cup will help you get rid of scum from the skimmer. We want to keep the broth as clean as possible.
When all the ingredients are cooked, skim the broth for udon noodles. Typically, a hot pot meal ends with cooking udon noodles or porridge.
Add udon noodles in the pot and reheat for 1-2 minutes. Lightly season the udon soup with salt and white pepper, if you like (optional).
Dilute the ponzu sauce with the broth and serve udon noodles.