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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.