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Shabu Shabu Recipe: Easy Guide to Make Japanese Hot Pot at Home

Shabu Shabu Recipe: Easy Guide to Make Japanese Hot Pot at Home

Take a flavorful journey through the heart of Japanese cuisine with your very own homemade Shabu Shabu recipe. This hot pot dish, celebrated for its warmth and sociability, allows friends and family to gather around a steaming broth, cooking and enjoying fresh ingredients together.

Through this post, Kiichin will guide you step-by-step with our detailed guide, promising an unforgettable culinary adventure right in your kitchen.

What is Japanese shabu shabu hot pot?

This traditional Japanese hot pot translates to "swish swish" in English, because it mimics the sound of ingredients being gently swirled in the simmering broth. It was originally influenced by Chinese hot pot and became popular in Japan during the 1950s. Nowadays, it's a beloved dish enjoyed on both special occasions and casual gatherings alike.

Japanese shabu shabu is a beloved dish enjoyed on special occasions.

Japanese shabu shabu is a beloved dish enjoyed on special occasions.

Thinly sliced meat, vegetables, noodles, and other ingredients combine in a pot of flavorful shabu shabu broth, creating a healthy and customizable feast. This "nabemono" experience (meaning "things in one pot") creates a social atmosphere where everyone cooks and shares together.

What are Japanese shabu shabu ingredients?

Shabu shabu is about sharing a delicious hot pot meal with friends or family. It mixes thinly sliced meats, veggies, and tasty dipping sauces. Let's check out the main ingredients and equipment that make shabu shabu so yummy!

Here's a list of ingredients you need to prepare before making shabu shabu at home:

  • Thinly sliced meat of your choice (e.g., beef, lamb, pork, chicken, seafood)
  • Napa cabbage
  • Tofu
  • Carrot
  • Spring onion
  • Enoki mushrooms, roots removed and separated into small bunches
  • Shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed
  • Ponzu sauce
  • Sesame sauce (optional)
  • Chili paste, grated ginger, or peanut butter (optional for dipping sauce)
  • Udon noodles (optional)
  • Dashi made from kombu (kelp) broth or store-bought broth
  • Mirin (optional)
  • Soy sauce (optional)
  • Sliced ginger (optional)

Meat selection

Meat is an essential ingredient in shabu shabu recipe

Meat is an essential ingredient in shabu shabu recipe

This may be an essential ingredient in shabu shabu recipe. When you're trying shabu shabu outside of Japan, one big difference you might notice is the meat quality. It can be challenging to find that same fantastic beef without paying much money.

Over in Japan, they've got supermarkets stocked with fantastic beef at reasonable prices, but we make it work! If you're in the US, you can usually find some thinly sliced "shabu shabu" beef at Japanese or Asian supermarkets. Also, don't forget to visit Korean grocery stores – they often have good-quality meat.

Now, if you don't have any Asian grocery stores nearby, you might have a tough time finding that thinly sliced meat at your regular ol' supermarket. While thinly sliced beef is the usual choice, feel free to try other types of meat too. Tasty lamb, juicy pork, or even shrimp or fish can bring something special to your hot pot meal.

Thinly sliced beef is the usual choice for this hot pot

Thinly sliced beef is the usual choice for this hot pot

Vegetable selection

Alongside classic veggies like Napa cabbage and scallions, consider adding a mix of mushrooms for extra flavor depth, such as enoki and shiitake. Remember to include greens like baby bok choy or watercress.

To find less common veggies like shungiku and long green onion, try Asian grocery stores. Napa cabbage may also be available at major retailers like Walmart, Target, or Whole Foods.

Fresh vegetables make your shabu shabu more healthy and delicious

Fresh vegetables make your shabu shabu more healthy and delicious

Dipping sauces

While ponzu and sesame sauce offer classic flavor profiles, don't hesitate to experiment with your own combinations. Consider adding a touch of sweetness with honey or a hint of heat with chili paste.

Get creative with texture by incorporating crushed peanuts or toasted sesame seeds. The beauty of the Shabu Shabu recipe lies in its adaptability, allowing you to tailor each element to suit your personal taste preferences.

Other optional shabu shabu ingredients

You can make this Japanese traditional food even better with these final touches. Silken tofu adds a creamy texture, while udon noodles give a satisfying, starchy bite. Thinly sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds add a burst of flavor.

And remember, shabu shabu hot pot is all about making it your own. Pick your favorite ingredients, adjust the flavors to your liking, and enjoy cooking with your loved ones for a memorable meal.

How to make shabu shabu at home

Now that you've chosen your ingredients, let's make the perfect Japanese shabu shabu hot pot performance at home!

Step 1: Prepare shabu shabu ingredients

Thinly slice meat against the grain. Wash and cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Arrange everything beautifully on platters.

Arrange everything beautifully on platters

Arrange everything beautifully on platters

Step 2: Make the shabu shabu broth

This forms the foundation of your shabu shabu harmony. Here are two options:

Traditional dashi broth:

  1. For shabu shabu, we make a broth called dashi using kombu (kelp). It's vegetarian and super easy to make. Put a piece of kombu in a pot of water and let it soak to bring out the flavor. That's all you need to do!
  2. Fill a medium saucepan, nabe pot, or electric frypan with water and dashi powder.
  3. Bring it to a boil on high heat.

Quicker broth option:

  1. Use store-bought dashi broth or quality beef or vegetable broth.
  2. Heat in your chosen pot.

Customize the shabu shabu broth to your taste! Add a splash of mirin for sweetness, a touch of soy sauce for depth, or even some sliced ginger for a warming note. Remember to simmer gently to avoid overpowering the delicate flavors of the other ingredients.

We can make a broth called dashi using kombu (kelp).

We can make a broth called dashi using kombu (kelp).

Shop now:

Wadasuke 30cm Stainless Steel Induction Shabu Shabu Hot Pot with Divider

Yukiwa 25cm Stainless Steel Shabu Shabu Hot Pot

Click for more options for Japanese hot pots and cooking utensils.

Step 3: Prepare dipping sauces

Mix together ponzu and sesame sauce, or make your own combinations.

Make your dipping sauce that suits your personal taste preferences.

Make your dipping sauce that suits your personal taste preferences.

Step 4: Cook udon noodles

Boil water in a separate pot, then cook the noodles until they're soft. Drain them and set them aside.

Cook undon noodles until they're soft.

Cook undon noodles until they're soft.

Step 5: Set the stage

Now it's time to transform your table into a shabu shabu haven. Place your pot in the center, filled with simmering broth. Arrange the platters of colorful ingredients around it.

Don't forget the serving bowls for cooked food and dipping sauces, chopsticks, and plates for each guest. Light some candles, make calming music, and prepare to be transported to a world of flavorful delight. 

Place your pot in the center, filled with simmering broth.

Place your pot in the center, filled with simmering broth.

Step 6: Cooking

Dip a few slices of meat into the broth with your chopsticks. Swirl them around gently for about 30 seconds until they're cooked just right.

Then, dip them into your favorite sauce and pair them with veggies and noodles. Time to savor the deliciousness!

Time to savor the deliciousness!

Time to savor the deliciousness!

Step 7: Repeat

Continue cooking and enjoying rounds, creating a shared dining experience.

The beauty of Shabu Shabu is cooking and sharing stories together

The beauty of Shabu Shabu is cooking and sharing stories together

Read more: Japanese Traditional Food: 25+ Must-Try Dishes in Japan

Useful tips for the best shabu shabu

Shabu shabu meat is so thin that it only needs around 30 seconds to cook. Place only a few slices at a time so they don’t overcook. Watch as it turns from pink to a light brown – then it’s ready to eat!

Tips:

  • Cook meat in small batches to avoid overcooking.
  • Adjust broth flavor to your preference.
  • Explore different dipping sauce combinations.
  • Have fun and create lasting memories with loved ones!

If you want to make the hot pot healthier

All you need to do is to cut the ingredients and let everyone cook dinner together at the table. You just need to cook all the ingredients in broth, so no oil is used in the hot pot. It’s a very low-fat meal and a great way to incorporate many vegetables.

Conclusion

You can confidently make this perfect hot pot at home by following this detailed shabu shabu recipe as well as other Japanese cooking techniques. Every step contributes to creating a memorable meal, from selecting the finest ingredients to preparing the flavorful broth and orchestrating the dining experience.

As you immerse yourself in the art of Shabu Shabu, remember to savor the joy of cooking together and sharing stories around the table. Embrace the opportunity to explore different flavor combinations, adjust recipes to suit your preferences, and create a dining experience that reflects your unique taste and style.

Don't forget to follow Kiichin for a continuous infusion of culinary inspiration!

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