Fall is in the air, even here in Southern California. Days are getting shorter and cooler. These past few days, the sky has been dull and wintry and this morning, it rained.
I start craving foods that keep me warm—soups, hearty stews, and hot pots. To me, nothing tastes quite as invigorating and uplifting than a meal of simmering hot soup or stew. I made nabe, or Japanese hot pot, a delicious medley of ingredients steeped in dashi broth and cooked inside a clay donabe, or nabe pot.
My friend La Fuji Mama took me shopping at the Japanese market here: kombu and bonito flakes for dashi, cookware, usukushi shoyu (Japanese light soy sauce) and harusame (cellophane noodles). La Fuji Mama lived in Tokyo twice and knows how to pick out the best brands on the shelves. It was great to have someone who knows Japanese to shop with. Thanks so much, Rachael!
The nabe I made is called Yosenabe, or “Anything Goes” Hot Pot according to “Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One Pot Meals” by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat. (I attended the book launch party in New York recently.) Yosenabe is probably one of the most popular hot pots in Japan; it’s highly versatile when it comes to the ingredients used. Chicken, mushrooms, Napa cabbage, Tokyo negi, tofu, and assortment of seafood of your choice: head-on shrimp, scallops, oysters, fish fillet, clams, etc. The chicken has to stay, according to the cookbook.
How did it taste? Well, I will let my photo gallery above speaks for itself. After the nabe meal, I felt like I might even start to appreciate colder weather as I have fifty (50) recipes from the Japanese Hot Pots cookbook to take me through the gloomy days.