Shabu-shabu – something everyone can enjoy

As part of our introduction to Japanese food my husband and I have discovered shabu-shabu.  It is a wonderfully delicious and healthy soup that is typically prepared table-side with guests adding their own meats and vegetables in the broth.   Here’s how shabu-shabu works.

You start by purchasing a portable burner and setting that at your table. 

Find a pot that fits the burner and still allows you to feed about four per.  Add about one quart of a good broth or stock.  Supplement the stock with ginger slices, lemongrass, garlic, red pepper flakes, star anise…whatever flavors you enjoy. 

Allow those to simmer together for a few minutes while you prepare the vegetables and meats.  In this broth I also added some of the small pieces of dried shiitake mushrooms.

For the vegetables you can use any combination you choose. 

If you use things like sweet potatoes and carrots, be sure they are sliced thinly so they cook quickly at the table.

Add the vegetables that take longest to cook first…

and add the quick cooking vegetables, like spinach, last.  In this particular meal I used cubes of tofu but frequently we add shrimp and very thinly sliced raw pork or beef.  Pieces from the loin are most tender.  When the meat is shaved super thin it cooks in seconds.   Thicker pieces will take longer. 

Also have ready some beaten egg in a bowl, usually one egg per person.  Once the vegetables have cooked to your liking…

slowly add the egg to the simmering broth,  cook for another minute and stir.

Ladle the soup over bowls of rice and you are ready to enjoy.  You can add soy sauce, if needed, or other Asian style sauces but the truth is, if you create an awesome broth at the onset you need very little help at the end.  This is a very light and healthy soup making it the perfect meal for the summer.

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