A while back I was browsing some of my favorite Japanese food blogs when I came across a call for recipe testers for an upcoming book on nabe, or Japanese hot pots, titled Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals at Japanese Food Report. Well, I love nabe, I think it’s a great winter meal that allows everyone to gather around the kotatsu and enjoy a simple meal from a communal pot, so I couldn’t resist.
Usually a nabe dinner at my house is an overflowing hodgepodge of meats and vegetables (the more the merrier) cooked in a broth of dashi, soy sauce, and mild kimchi. I love our kimchi nabe, but I was definitely looking forward to trying out some new recipes.
Here are some pictures of the recipes we tested:
Our favorite recipe was definitely this Korean influenced lamb shabu-shabu served with a spicy black sesame dipping sauce.
Next we made Negima Nabe – or Old Tokyo Tuna Belly Hotpot. At first I was intimidated by the recipe, which called for a pound of toro (fatty tuna belly). Luckily, I found a small fish monger near my house who sold me the cubed chu-toro that was too small or sinewy to be sold as toro for sushi. He even gave me a little extra discount, so I got about two-thirds of a pound of tuna for just 400 yen!
Finally we made Momiji Nabe, which was venison and vegetables in a wine and miso broth. Getting the ingredients for this nabe was a little challenging, since venison isn’t sold at most grocery stores in Japan. In the end we had to go to Tokyo to find the meat, but I was able to discover two great international markets there. I highly recommend Nissin supermarket in the Azabu-Juban neighborhood of Tokyo; they had an amazing selection of meats along with lots of other international groceries. We were also impressed with National Azabu in the Hiroo neighborhood.
Check out Harris Salat’s Japanese Food Report to learn more about nabe or Japanese food and ingredients. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for his hot pot cookbook too.