Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Side Trip: Shabu Shabu Party Recipe

The F1 Meals post was well received and I've had a few requests for recipes, so I'm going to publish a few of them, as we are able to track them down. In this Side Trip, I'm going to go over what you need to buy and prepare for an awesome Shabu Shabu party!

Mmm, Shabu Shabu!
But first, what the heck is "Shabu Shabu"? It's a Japanese hot pot dish where the idea is to dip ingredients in a savory broth, just long enough to cook to your liking, then dip it into some sauce of your choosing and then eat it! The name "shabu shabu" comes from the swishing noise you make as you dip your ingredients in the cooking broth. The meats are usually sliced very thinly and only requires a few dips before they are perfectly cooked.

Before we get into the details, I must warn you that some of the ingredients listed below may be hard, if not downright impossible, to source at your neighborhood grocery store. However, pretty much everything in the list of ingredients can be found at a Japanese specialty foods store, such as Mitsuwa Marketplace if you're in California (multiple stores), Chicago (Arlington Heights) or NJ (Edgewater). Some Chinese/Korean markets also have most/all of the ingredients but it can be hit and miss.

Nobu's TIP: Don't worry if you can't find absolutely everything. The most important components are the meat, dashi and dipping sauces. You can also do some substitutions for things like mushrooms, long onions and Shungiku with Western equivalents.

See corresponding numbers (#1, #2, etc.) in ingredient list below.

Ingredients (for 4 servings)
  • 1.5 lbs beef sirloin/tenderloin, sliced paper-thin (Wagyu if available) #1
  • 4 Hakusai/Chinese cabbage leaves #4
  • 4 oz Shun-giku (chrysanthemum leaves) #5
  • 4 oz Seri (watercress)
  • 2 Naga-negi (long onions/"Tokyo" onions) #8
  • 8 Shiitake Mushrooms (can be substituted with Matsutake mushrooms as well) #9/#10
  • 3.5 oz Enokidake (nettle mushroom) #6
  • 2 oz Harusame (cellophane noodles) #7
  • 1 Container "Yaki" Tofu (Tofu that has been pan fried to firm texture) #13
  • 1 6-inch section Daikon radish #11
  • 6 Cups Dashi (Make your own or purchase dashi powder from Asian specialty food store)
  • 2 Cups cooked Japanese white rice
Preparation of Ingredients:
  • Beef: Spread out on large serving dish.
  • Chinese cabbage and Shungiku: Boil lightly, then spread out each cabbage leaves onto a sushi rolling bamboo mat (if you don't have one, you can try your hand at hand rolling), arrange the shungiku in the middle, then roll the cabbage around the shungiku. The process is much like making a sushi roll, except the cabbage leaves are the seaweed and the shungiku is the rice in the middle. Once they're rolled and cut, they should look like the assembled cabbage rolls in the picture below.
  • Naga-negi/Long Onions: Slice into diagonal slices (see picture below).
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: Cut off stems and make criss-cross incisions on mushroom tops.
  •  Matstutake Mushrooms: Do not discard stems. slice into thin pieces.
  • Enokidake: Cut off the bottom part.
  • Harusame: Soak in lukewarm water, then cut into 4-inch lengths.
  • Daikon radish: Grate radish and set aside as an accompaniment to serve at the table.
  • Tofu: Cut into 1/2 - 1 inch cubes.
  • Rice: Set aside to eat with the Shabu Shabu.
Vegetables ready for Shabu Shabu.

Ponzu Dipping Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Inches Kombu #2
  • 5 Tbsp Dashi
  • 2 Thin lemon slices
Directions: Mix all ingredients except the sliced lemon and let stand for 10 minutes. Then remove the kombu and add the sliced lemon.

Goma (Miso and Sesame) Dipping Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup white sesame seeds
  • 3 1/3 Tbsp white miso
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin #12
  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Grated garlic
  • Red Pepper Powder
  • 2 tsp Vegetable oil
  • 7 Tbsp Dashi
Directions: Roast white sesame seeds in a skillet over low heat until they give off an aroma. Grind in mortar and pestle until sticky. Add white miso, mirin, soy sauce, vinegar, grated garlic and powdered red pepper and grind further. Then slowly add vegetable oil and dashi while continuing to grind, until smooth.

Once all of your ingredients are prepped and dipping sauces ready, it's time to Shabu Shabu!

Due to the fact that this is a dish cooked table-side, you will need to figure out a way to heat the dipping broth at your dinner table. You can either use a portable burner, or better yet, you can invest in a Japanese hot plate/skillet like the one here. These electric skillets are great for hot pot dishes as well as a variety of other table-top cooking tasks, and they're a cinch to clean, due to the non-stick coating.

Nobu's TIP: Make sure you have some extra dashi on hand to replenish what you will lose during the course of the meal.

Each person should have their own set of dipping sauces and a shallow bowl to eat the cooked ingredients from. Bring the broth to a boil, then adjust the temperature to let it simmer. You basically grab your desired ingredient with your chop sticks, swish it around a few times in the simmering broth, then dip into your desired sauce and eat! The paper-thin slices of meat will take only a swish or two, whereas some of the vegetables may take a little longer. You shouldn't have to cook any given ingredient for much longer than 30 seconds to a minute. 

After you have swished your way through all of the meat, vegetables and side items, we usually like to dump some rice into the remaining broth and make some rice porridge. This is my favorite part of a hot pot meal, because the broth has retained all of the umami that the various ingredients have imparted in it. It is the ultimate in savory goodness.

I hope you enjoyed this Side Trip into Japanese cuisine, and as always, please use the comment box below if you have any questions or comments.



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