Japan is known for its culinary arts. Some of the best restaurants with some of the best dishes in the world are in Japan. From traditional Kaiseki dining to A5 Kobe Wagyu the list is endless. Here I will introduce you to another Japanese delicacy, Japanese Nabe, or better known as Hot Pot.
Japanese Hot Pots are pots of simmering flavored broth, usually made with water and a dried piece of kelp, which raw ingredients are placed into the pot and cooked. It is usually considered to be a main dish without any added side dishes. Often served with an additional dipping sauce for added flavor. Thinly sliced meat(beef, pork, chicken), vegetables, dumplings, tofu, seafood, are just some of the ingredients that you might find in a Japanese hot pot. Although cooking time will vary, most raw foods can be cooked in this dish.
Usually in every hot pot dish, after all of the ingredients have been eaten, different types noodles or udon or rice is added to the remaining broth as a shime (end-of-the-meal dish). With little effort and very little prep time anyone can master the Japanese hot pot. Here is a list of the top 10 Japanese Hot Pot dishes that you can make at home.
Table of Contents
1) Top 10: Sukiyaki
2) Top 9: Tomatonabe
3) Top 8: Kaisennabe
4) Top 7: Chigenabe
5) Top 6: Mizudakinabe
6) Top 5: Motsunabe
7) Top 4: Tonyunabe
8) Top 3: Shabu-Shabu
9) Top 2: Yosenabe
10) Top 1: Chankonabe
Japanese Hot Pot #10: Chanko Nabe
Chanko Nabe, also called sumo hot pot is a type of dish that is the staple of every sumo wrestlers diet. This particular Japanese Hot pot is commonly eaten in vast quantity by sumo wrestlers as part of a weight gaining diet. Chanko nabe is very popular and often served in restaurants owned and operated by retired sumo wrestlers who specialize in this dish.
This dish is made with dashi or a chicken broth soup base. There is no fixed recipe or way to make it. Chanko often contains whatever is available to the cook. Usually it has a large amount of protein, such as chicken, fish, tofu. Vegetables include daikon, bok choy, chinese cabbage, and mushrooms, just to name a few. This is a great Japanese Hot Pot that is very healthy and very tasteful.
Japanese Hot Pot #9: Yose Nabe
Yosenabe is the most basic of all Japanese hot pots. This particular type of dish uses meat, seafood and vegetables. Meats usually consists of thinly sliced pork, bite sized pieces of chicken, and meatballs. Seafood consists of shrimp, scallops, and fish balls. Vegetables include Chinese cabbage, leeks, various mushrooms, tofu, and carrots. Basically any kinds of meat, seafood, and vegetables can be used. Unlike some other Japanese hot pots yosenabe doesn’t require a dipping sauce because of all the flavors of the ingredients will bring out the flavor in the broth.
The name yosenabe is a combination of the word yose, that means to gather, and the word nabe which means hot pot in Japanese. In Japan hot pot is meal usually enjoyed by family and friends, so it might have a double meaning. Yosenabe, gathering of ingredients in a Japanese hot pot, and yosenabe, the gathering of friends to enjoy the Japanese hot pot.
Japanese Hot Pot #8: Shabu-Shabu
The name of this hot pot is derived from the sound that is made while you are stirring the ingredients in the hot pot. Usually consisting of thinly sliced pork and vegetables that is boiled in water and served with several types of dipping sauces. Each ingredient is cooked piece by piece at the table.
This Japanese dish is prepared by submerging a thin slice of pork and vegetables in a pot of water usually with a piece of dried kelp for a bit of flavor, putting all of the ingredients in at once my result in overcooking, then it is dipped into one of several dipping sauces. Dipping sauces are usually ponzu and goma (sesame seed), although you may use whatever you like. After all the meat and vegetables have been eaten it is usual to udon noodles to the remaining broth and finish off this Japanese hot pot.
Japanese Hot Pot #7: Tonyunabe
For the most health conscious of eaters we have a soy milk Japanese hot pot, better known as Tonyunabe. By adding soy milk to the hot pot, it makes it more like a mild stew without all those unwanted calories. All you do is add soy milk to the dashi (broth). Once you add the soy milk the broth turns into a very delicate flavor. The result is a natural and creamy taste that all comes together when you add the meat and vegetables.
With a bit of ponzu dipping sauce on the side that will give you an additional sweet and tangy kick to this healthy and flavorful Japanese hot pot. If you want to change things up a bit you can add some miso, or sesame seed paste. Be sure to keep the heat no low to medium to stop the soy milk from curdling. Because soy milk is added and has been simmering for long periods of time this hot pot is one of the only hot pot that doesn’t add noodles or rice at the end of the meal.
Japanese Hot Pot #6: Motsunabe
Anyone looking for a gourmet experience I suggest that you try Motsunabe. This Japanese hot pot is famous for its origin, made in Fukuoka, Japan. The main ingredient in this hot pot dish is what the Japanese people call motsu, which are small intestines.
Motsunabe is usually made with a dashi (broth) based with white miso (soybean paste) or soy sauce and a lot of garlic. Vegetables usually consist of cabbage, tofu, leeks, chives, chili peppers, and a lot of garlic. Of the two main types of broth, the white soybean paste is the most popular. A tangy, mild broth with a hint of sweetness, and the punch of garlic makes this a savory hot pot that requires no dipping sauce. If you rather have a lighter, tangy taste, you should try the soy sauce base. I would suggest that you try both the miso, and the soy sauce based dashi.
Japanese Hot Pot #5: Mizutaki
Another Japanese hot pot made famous in the city of Fukuoka is the mizutaki hot pot. Mizu which means water, and taki which means simmer. The main ingredient in this hot pot dish is chicken. Therefore you would want to have the chicken simmering for a while, as a result you get a rich savory soup. You would want to keep the rest of the ingredients simple so that you won’t change too much of the flavor of the soup. Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, long onion, and vermicelli are the most common in ingredients. The dish is commonly eaten with a ponzu dipping sauce. For this reason, it is one of the most simplest Japanese hot pot to make. Champon noodles are usually added to the remaining broth after all the meat and vegetables have been eaten. If you are health conscious then you can substitute chicken thighs with chicken breasts.
Japanese Hot pot #4: Chige (kimchi) Nabe
A spicy tangy Japanese hot pot that is perfect for those cold chilly nights! With this hot pot, you can add just about any thing that you might have in your refrigerator. You can try a bunch of different ingredients and find your favorite combination. Beef, pork, chicken, dumplings, meatballs, Chinese cabbage, different types of mushrooms, onions, leek, sausage, just about anything will go with this hot pot. Just throw everything into the pot and let it simmer until all of the flavors of the different ingredients come out. Above all, do not forget the kimchi (Korean spicy ingredient). If you want to make it milder, just add less kimchi or pick out a mild kimchi. Try different types of kimchi, some are more sweet and tangy than others, till you find the one that you like best.
Japanese Hot Pot #3: Kaisen (seafood) Nabe
[Kaisen Nabe] http://www.yukigomi.com/blog/nabe-japanese-hotpot)
Kaisen nabe is perfect if you are not a meat fan. This hot pot has only seafood and vegetables. Most common seafood includes shrimp, scallops, crab legs, amberjack, sea bream, clams and oysters. I suggest you use seasonal ingredients for the best results. For example in the winter King Crab, or oysters will do great in this hot pot. Vegetables might include Chinese cabbage, mushroom, leek, tofu, just to name a few. Do not forget to see which vegetables are in season. Remember, there are no set ingredients when it comes to Japanese hot pots, which makes it a dish that just about anyone can enjoy. You can also use Ponzu as a dipping sauce. Don’t forget to save the broth at the end. It is common to add rice with some raw egg to make a very mild and savory porridge. Shime is so important for some Japanese people.
Japanese Hot Pot #2: Tomato Nabe
I know what you are thinking…..tomato hot pot??? It is very popular in Japan and relatively easy to make! Furthermore, it goes well with meat or seafood or even both. The base is the same as most Japanese hot pots, water and dried kelp. Just need to add a some tomatoes, whole or canned will do, a bit of tomato sauce. If you want to make it a bit sweeter, you can always add a touch of honey. Pork, chicken, shrimp, scallops, just about anything will go great with this hot pot. In fact, this is one of my personal favorites. Add some chili peppers or even a few slices of garlic if you like it spicy and tangy. Overall, with many different ways to arrange it this hot pot will be a hit with anyone who tries it.
Japanese Hot Pot #1: Sukiyaki
At last we come to the final, but perhaps the most popular Japanese hot pot there is. Generally known as a winter dish, sukiyaki usually consists of thinly sliced beef which is slowly cooked or simmered in a shallow iron pot with a mixture of sugar, soy sauce and mirin. The ingredients are then usually dipped in a bowl of beaten raw eggs. Commonly used vegetables are Chinese cabbage, firm tofu, scallions, shiitake mushrooms, round onions and konnyaku (glass noodles). At the end of the meal boiled udon noodles are often added to soak up the broth and enjoyed. They also sell the already-made sukiyaki broth where you could purchase at your local supermarket. Just place all the ingredients in the pot, pour the broth and let it simmer for a few minutes. Make sure not to overcook the slices of beef since they can become bland and rubbery.
Japanese hot pot meals are good way to enhance relationships with family and colleagues. Everyone sits around the pot so as a result you get a warm atmosphere while talking and eating. In case you have never tried to make a Japanese hot pot before, I can’t tell you enough how quick and easy it is to make. There is only one prep, and that is to cut all the ingredients. Because this hot pot is a staple of Japanese dining you can find the broths available at your local supermarkets. Since it is already made, you can just add the ingredients.
Moreover, you can also eat while you cook so you do not have to deal with the hassle of cooking many dishes. Therefore, if you want a healthy, easy and quick dinner, or if you are hosting a party or a small gathering of family and friends, Japanese hot pot is the perfect dish! An entertaining way to enjoy a meal that is affordable, easy to prepare and able to feed a large group of people. All of the different types of hot pots that are on this list have ready to use broths for sale. For beginners or if you don’t have confidence in your cooking skills, then you probably might want to try one of these. There are a plenty of choices at any of the local supermarkets.
If you are a bit more adventurous there are many recipes for all types of Japanese hot pots online. Look them up and see if you can find one that suits your needs! If you are interested in more Japanese cooking, check out this Top 10 Japanese Cooking YouTube Video Channels!