Shabu shabu: Japanese food in winter

 

Shabu Shabu

Shabu – shabu is a Japanese variant of hot pot (Chinese fondue). The dish is related to sukiyaki in style, as both employ finely cut meat and vegetables, and are often served with dipping sauces. However, they differ radically in taste: shabu-shabu is tastier and less sweet than sukiyaki. It was considered a winter dish but is consumed all year round.

The dish is traditionally made with finely cut beef, although modern variants sometimes use pork, crab, chicken, duck, or lobster. The most common is to use tender entrecote meat, although other less tender cuts such as the sirloin tip are common. A more expensive meat, such as wagyū, can also be used for its improved flavor and texture.
Shabu-shabu is often served with tofu and vegetables, including hakusai (Chinese cabbage), mojigata leaves, nori (edible seaweed), onion, carrot, shiitake mushrooms, and enokitake. In some places, udon, mochi and harusame noodles can also be served.

The dish is prepared by dipping a very fine steak or a piece of vegetable into a pot of boiling water or dashi (broth) made with kombu (kelp) and shaking it back and forth several times. (The name of the dish comes from the familiar hiss produced by this action.) Cooked meat and vegetables are often dipped in ponzu or gum sauce (made from sesame seeds) before eating it accompanied by a bowl of steamed white rice. After eating the meat and vegetables, it is customary to combine the leftover broth in the pot with the remaining rice, drinking the resulting soup last.