Onabe – Japanese Hot Pot

“Onabe” refers to a variety of Japanese broth based dishes which are usually consumed at dinner time during the colder months of the year. This soup dish is traditionally cooked in one big pot made of cast iron or clay in order to retain and evenly distribute heat. It is typically served on a portable gas stove situated in the middle of the table and is considered one of the most social ways of eating in Japan since everyone shares and digs into the food from one big pot.

One of the best things about Onabe is that it is a very versatile dish that can include almost any type of food. Most Japanese families have their own recipe and preference of ingredients! My best & most favourite onabe is my mother’s 🙂

Yield: 4-6 servings

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 4.5 hours Include kelp soaking time

Ingredients

Dashi or broth

1 sheet Kombu (Kelp)

¼ cup Bonito flakes (fish product)

½ cup Dried shiitake mushrooms if you have

¼ cup Sake (*optional)

Onabe

½ head of Nappa cabbage, roughly chopped

1 medium daikon (white winter radish), sliced

1 or 2 leeks, sliced

1 burdock root, sliced

1 pack of enoki mushrooms

1 pack of shiitake or mini portobello mushrooms

1 pack of tofu, sliced

Method

1. To prepare the dashi (broth), fill your pot with water and add the kombu sheet to soften it. Let sit for about 4 hours or overnight. Once softened, cut a few slits into the seaweed sheets and heat on medium heat until the water begins to simmer. Remove kombu and add bonito flakes to simmer for approximately 5 minutes and then remove.

2. Add sake (if you wish), burdock root and daikon and simmer for 15 mins.

3. Now you can add Napa cabbage, leeks, tofu and mushrooms. Put lid on and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

4. Carefully bring the Onabe pot to a table.  Dig in and keep adding ingredients as you eat. You can create your unique version of this delicious soup!  Enjoy 🙂


Yuki Yamasaki, Holistic Nutritionist