Nabe Hotpot Explained

Nabe Hotpot Explained
Hello and welcome to Japan Explained!
You asked for it, so today we are talking about food again.
Nabe hot pot cuisine is an essential part of winter in Japan. Seafood, meat, mushrooms, tofu, vegetables, rice cakes and many other ingredients find their way into thick clay nabe pots in homes and restaurants all around the country. 
Nabe is one of 3 Japanese dishes I, a very lazy cook, make at home. That’s like an ultimate sales point: “Even Toki can make it!” It’s easy to cook, it’s always yummy and it’s fun to eat.
So today let’s look at one of Japan’s winter favourites – nabe hot pot, millions of its seasonal and regional varieties and pick the best pot for your nabe (spoiler alert: you can use pretty much anything).

Contents:

  • The evolution of pot and food cooked in it
  • Edo Period Nabe – the dish of the city dwellers
  • When Japanese meet meat: Gyu-nabe and sukiyaki
  • The modern pot and types of nabe cooked in it
  • Regional varieties: Nabe from north to South
  • The weird ones: Chanko-nabe and Oden

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And here are some notes you might find interesting after listening to Nabe Hotpot Explained episode.

Reading

Great introduction to nabe. They talk about history, recipes, pots and regional varieties of nabe. My favourite part is the article linked above showing how every house has its own nabe rules. And while they may seem weird to you, they show that nabe is truly yours to improvise.

Video

You already knew it was coming. Another episode of my favourite Begin Japanology. Just promise me not to watch hungry.

A comedy cooking show. Not to take seriously but just to see that nabe varieties are actually endless.

A trip to Hacchomori in Akita, where the presenter eats local foods, including nabe and sees how shottsuru sauce I talked about in the Soy Sauce episode is made.
P.S. local accent is really cute
The episode tells about regional varieties of nabe and warm stories made around the hot pot. But the part that struck me the most was the one about the last leek vendor of Tokyo who knows exactly which leek will be perfect for each dish and type of restaurant.
Bonus: a Vietnamese take on Japanese nabe.

An episode about a female potter from Iga making Iga-ware donabe clay pots.

This Episode is truly THE Gintama. And while it’s overly exaggerated as usual, you do need to have a strategy when you eat nabe with friends. Maybe that’s why I prefer eating sukiyaki in the restaurant.

Recipes

Just look into the Soups and Stews section of NHK Dining with the Chef website. Oden, sukiyaki, mizutaki, they have it all. Follow the instructions and enjoy.

Bonus read:

Talk to you soon. Bye!

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