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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Japanese Shabu-Shabu Recipe

At the heart of Japanese cooking is using fresh, high quality ingredients that are lightly cooked for a natural taste. This is no where more highly refined than in the art of Shabu Shabu. This is one of many hot pot dishes like Suki-yaki that is cooked in a at the table and diners take what they like and dip into a sauce and eat. The name, shabu-shabu comes from the sound of the cooking ,meat. Very thin slices of beef are used and dipped for only a few seconds in the boiling broth. There are other variations of shabu-shabu using pork or crab. There are 2 dipping sauces used; a lemon sauce and a sesame sauce. These sauces are probably available at your local Asian grocer, if so you can use them, or this recipe shows how to make them from scratch. This is a great party dish for a few friends, especially in winter. Enjoy.

Serves 4        1047 cal./serving


  • 1-1/4 lb.(570 g) well marbled sirloin, sliced paper thin
  • 2 quarts(2 liters) dashi bonito stock
  • 4 leaves of Chinese cabbage(hakusai)
  • 12-16 fresh spinach leaves with stems
  • 3 leeks
  • 1 block regular tofu, about 10 oz.(285g)
  • 8 fresh shitake mushrooms
  • 4 servings udon noodles(optional)
  • 1 small, dried red pepper or 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely grated daikon(Japanese white radish) or turnip
  • 4-5 finely chopped green onions

Lemon-Soy Dipping Sauce(ponzu)

  • 2 inches(5 cm) piece kelp(konbu)
  • 5 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Sesame Dipping Sauce(gomadare)

  • 1/2 cup bonito stock
  • 6 Tbsp. white sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 pinch of red pepper
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil


  • Prepare in total, 8-1/2 cups of dashi bonito stock
  • Blanch Chinese cabbage leaves and spinach. Squeeze spinach and lay a 3-4 spinach leaves at one end of a cabbage leaf and roll up. Cut the roll into 1-1/2 inch(4 cm) sections. Repeat with remaining cabbage and spinach. Stand the rolls up on a platter.
  • Cut leeks diagonally into 1 inch(2-1/2 cm) lengths. Cut tofu into bite size cubes. Discard shitake mushroom stems and make an "X" cut on the caps. Lay strips of beef out on a platter.
  • Soften dried pepper in water, then clip off the large end an squeeze out seeds. Cut and peel daikon. Make a hole in the center lengthwise with a toothpick or other utensil and stick in the red pepper. Grate the daikon with the red pepper inside, it will have a reddish tinge. If using pepper powder, simply mix with the grated daikon. Put grated daikon in a bowl and let diners put a little in their lemon dipping sauce.

Lemon-Soy Dipping Sauce:

  • Do not wash kelp, as the white powder contains much of the flavor. Instead, wipe both sides of kelp with a damp cloth and cut 1/2 inch(1-1/2cm) slits at 1 inch(2-1/2cm) intervals. In a saucepan, combine kelp and other ingredients cold. Do not heat. Set aside for at least 10 minutes before eating, remove kelp before serving.

Sesame Dipping Sauce:

  • Toast and grind sesame seeds or use already ground sesame. Dice and mash garlic. Combine sesame, garlic, and other ingredients. Blend mixture into bonito stock. 


  1. Prepare small bowls for both dipping sauces for each person. Put out grated daikon and finely chopped green onions for each diner to add to the sauces.
  2. Heat bonito stock in a pot at the table. Use a traditional Japanese earthenware pot(donabe), Mongolian-style hot pot(hoko-nabe) that has the cone coming up in the center, or an electric skillet. Fill the pot 2/3 full with the dashi stock and heat until just boiling. Each diner uses their own chopsticks to dip a slice of beef into the pot. Dip meat in broth for only a few seconds to cook, dip and eat. Let vegetable cook in the broth a bit longer and take what you like. Replenish ingredients, stock, or sauce when necessary. Skim off any foam.
  3. After everything's been eaten, you can add cooked udon noodles to heat in the broth. Serve udon in bowls with broth, season with salt and pepper to taste.

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