El Nino is definitely here. It was raining cats and dogs last week! The city of Los Angeles isn’t build for rain. There aren’t enough drains. Even if there are drains, they are likely clogged by trash and leaves. When the rain comes, streets, roads and freeways get flooded. It can turn into a river in just one hour. It is insane! On one hand, I hope rain could relieve California drought problem. On the other hand, I am hoping it is not going to rain too much or too intense as flooding can occur. Oh… You can’t always get both ways, we will see what is going to happen in these few months.
The best food for a rainy cold winter night is shabu shabu. Shabu shabu is a Japanese dish that you cook by yourself at the table. “Shabu shabu” means “swish swish” in Japanese. You swish some raw meats in the boiling broth and enjoy them. Other than meats, you also put in and cook a variety of vegetables in the broth too. It makes a perfectly balance meal. There is a very similar dish in Chinese cuisine. It is called “hot pot”. The idea is the same. The main difference is the broth. In Chinese hot pot, the broth is usually bold and flavorful, like satay broth, Sichuan pepper broth, and herbal broth. In Japanese shabu shabu, the broth is very clean with little seasoning. The flavors mainly come from the dipping sauces. There is a creamy and savory sesame sauce. The other one is a citrusy and light ponzu sauce. They both have great flavors and go well with the meats and vegetables.
Shabu shabu is a really fun thing to do at home. There aren’t a lot of preps and the broth is easy to put together. It is a lot cheaper than doing it in a restaurant. A typical shabu shabu usually takes about 2 hours or so. It is a great to do it with your family or with a few close friends. It is an excellent way to spend some times together and have a long chat while enjoying a fun and delicious meal. Hope you will try it soon!
– 3×3-inch piece of dried kombu (seaweed)
– 2 ears corn on the cob (husks and silk removed, cut into 1½-inch-thick rounds)
– ½ napa caggage (washed and cut into big strips)
– 10 shiitake mushrooms (wiped with paper towels and stem removed)
– 1 package of enoki mushrooms (stalk removed and separate into smaller bunches)
– ½ pack of medium-firm tofu (pat dried and cut into 1-inch cubes)
– 1 pound pre-sliced beef or sirloin (very thinly sliced)
– ½ pound pre-sliced pork or pork loin (very thinly sliced)
– 1 package udon (preferably Sanuki)
– Sesame sauce
– Ponzu sauce
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, fill 2/3 full with water. Add the kombu and soak for 30 minutes. Set the pot over medium heat. Remove the kombu from the water just before it comes to a full boil. Boiling combo for too long will make the broth slimy and bitter. Once boiling, add 4 pieces of corn, 1 cup cabbages, and 2 shiitake mushrooms. Bring to a boil again and cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the thinly sliced meats on 2 large serving plates. Arrange all the vegetables (corn, cabbage, mushrooms, and tofu) on another 2 large serving plates.
- Get the dining table ready by setting up the portable butane burner. Place the meat platters, vegetable platters, 2 serving bowls, chopsticks or forks, small fine strainer (for scooping) on the table. Pour the sesame sauce and ponzu sauce into 2 sets of sauce dishes. Set them next to the serving bowls.
- In a medium pot, fill with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer.
- Carefully transfer the large pot with vegetables to the portable burner. Turn the heat to medium. Once it is boiling, everyone can start cooking. Place a piece of meat into the boiling water and cook for about 20 seconds until no longer pink. Dip into either sauces and enjoy. Scoop out the cooked vegetable and serve with the sauces. Add more uncooked vegetables into the broth as it goes. If the broth is running low, refill with the boiling water that is standing by.
- Add the udon to the broth at the end of the meal. Bring to a boil and cook until al dente. Divide into serving bowls. Top each bowl of udon with a couple of tablespoons of ponzu sauce.
- I got kombu in a Japanese supermarket. You can also get it through Amazon. Learn a little more about kombu through The Kitchn.
- If you can’t find shiitake or enoki mushrooms, use other Asian mushrooms, like white or brown beech mushrooms.
- Portable butane burner and butane gas canisters can be bought on Amazon or in most Asian supermarkets. You will need about 1½ – 2 canisters of butane gas for 1 meal.
- Pre-sliced meats can also be found in most Asian supermarkets. If you can’t find any, you can cut them yourself. Try this recipe.
- I got both the sesame sauce and ponzu sauce from a Japanese supermarket. You can get them online, in most Asian supermarkets, or make your own. You can try these recipes (sesame sauce & ponzu sauce).
- For any leftover tofu, cut them in cubes and place them on a medium plate or baking sheet. Transfer to freezer and freeze. Once they are frozen, place them in a Ziploc bag. Frozen tofu has a more dense texture and it is great to absorb flavors and liquids. Use them with soup noodles, ramen or even the next shabu shabu.
(Adapted from Just One Cookbook)
Oana | Adore Foods says
I hope the rain will stop at one point, before causing floods and other undesired issues. I remember one El Nino in Queensland when it had rained for almost 2 months. Unfortunately were some historical floods after all that rain. Not the best memories.
I am loving everything about this Shabu Shabu idea! Really curious how it tastes. I have to make it soon 🙂 xo
So far so good. It rained for 2 days, but it has been cleared this week. As long as we have breaks in between, I think we should be ok. Let’s hope for the best. Is this El Nino affecting you guys this year?
Shabu shabu is really fun! Bryan loves it and always want to do it. Make sure to get (or make) the sauces. You need the sauces for flavoring. 😉
Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom says
YES! I love shabu shabu! It’s been raining like crazy in the Bay Area too! In fact, there’s a small river running threw my basement right now. It runs from one side of the house and right out the door on the other side – good thing we live on a hill 😉
You’re SO right, this dish is perfect for cold rainy weather! Here’s to keeping warm with awesome food!
Oh my goodness! A river runs through your house? I hope everything is staying dry and ok. That sounds so crazy! More rain will be on the way. Hope it won’t cause any problems.
To staying dry and keeping warm with amazing food! 😉
Stay dry! I hope you get rain but not so much that it causes a problem (I’ve been there!). And shabu shabu is the best; it’s such a nice family activity to do, like Asian fondue! : ) We usually do it over Christmas break, sometimes NYE, but it was too warm this year. Hope we make one happen soon.
Thank you Monica! 😉 Bryan loves shabu shabu. We did it last summer with a/c on. LOL!
I have heard that it has been unusual warm in the East coast this year. Hope you guys will get some cold weather soon.
Cristie - Little Big H says
Oh I love Shabu Shabu but I have never attempted to make it myself. I must give this a try.
You should give it a try at home! It is so much more fun! Enjoy! 😉
Michele Hall says
I used to get the best shabu shabu in a little restaurant on Sawtelle that is long closed. It had never occurred to me to try and make it at home…. It sounds so good!
OH…. You live in Los Angeles too? I used to go to a shabu shabu place on Sawtelle too. Maybe the same one you went to?
It really doesn’t take much to put together a shabu shabu at home. It is cheaper too! You can easily get all the ingredients from Nijiya Market (on Sawtelle). Let me know if you try it. 😉
I hear you about El Nino! Last week was a wet one, stayed home all throughout out. We are good for the next couple of days before it’s starts raining. Arrgh.. Never taught it you could make these at home. Now I know where to start. Thanks for sharing!
P.S I leave not too far from Sawtelle and it’s a the place to go when I feel like eating Japanese Food.
AiPing | Curious Nut says
It’s funny reading us Angelinos talking about the rain. Haha.
Christine | Vermilion Roots says
It’s raining a lot here too! I was just thinking how nice it would be to have steamboat for dinner. It’s like sitting around a campfire, doesn’t it? 🙂
Hot pot is really the best food for winter days! Keep us warm. 😉
AiPing | Curious Nut says
When I first came here, I was kinda shocked at how much it doesn’t rain here. Compared to how much it rains in Taiwan and Malaysia, it’s really not even rain here. Lol. But it’s definitely cold for this tropical girl’s body and hot pot always does the trick. So easy and so good.
It is true. It is very dry and sunny in Los Angeles! This is the weather everyone dreams of. Stay warm with some shabu shabu/hot pot!
jacquee | i sugar coat it! says
I am looking out my window at the falling snow, which will have to be shovelled… maybe rain isn’t so bad. 😉 A large bowl of this would be perfect right this minute!
Hope you survived the blizzard last week! A hot boiling shabu shabu is really the perfect winter food. Comforting and fun! Give it a try! 😉
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
Shabu shabu (or any hot pot) is wonderful in fall / winter time! My family enjoys shabu shabu a lot because of refreshing ponzu sauce, but I love Chinese hot pot too… 🙂 Thank you for linking back to my posts (sorry I’m late here….I’ve been meaning to stop by earlier!). Hope one day we can eat shabu shabu together! 😉
I will love to have shabu shabu with you! That would be FUN! Thanks for sharing your recipe. Your recipes are always so easy and great! Yes, ponzu sauce is refreshing, which goes really well with meats. I think I need to make shabu shabu again very soon!
Kylee @ Kylee Cooks says
That is so cool! I bet my family would really enjoy eating this. Interactive dinner time!
Thank you Kylee. It is a great way to gather the family together. Everyone will love it, especially the kids. Let me know if you try it. 🙂
Julia @ bavarianpicure says
I wanted to try shabu shabu for a long time now. Have to try your recipe, I love interactive dinners like raclette, so I think this will be perfect for my husband and me.
Shabu shabu is pretty easy to put together. It is a great way to spend some time together. Enjoy! Let me know if you tried it.
lisa @ garlicandzest says
I’ve never had Shabu Shabu — reminds me of fondue, but healthier!
You are right, Lisa! It is like fondue. Instead of cheese, it is a broth. It is served with tons of vegetables and some meat. It is the ultimate winter comfort food! 😀