If you’re like me and you live in an old style Japanese house (once referred to as structurally similar to a portacabin by my Dad), you’ll know how hard it is to keep warm in the winter months. For me, the three best ways to warm up are: to have a long hot bath, to cradle a hot water bottle and to eat Nabe.
Tounyuu Nabe is a soy milk hotpot; it’s healthy, nutritious and a delicious winter dish, which you can make at home quickly and easily. I was lucky enough to first try it in an authentic manner at a close Japanese friends’ of mine Ryokanesque style house in Chiba.
I was so impressed by the delicate taste that I thought I’d give it a go. It’s pretty straightforward to make with the added bonus of being healthy.
Ingredients you need are:
- 500ml soy milk
- 500ml water
- 1tsp dashi (fish stock)
- 1tsp sake
- 1tsp Asian chicken stock
- 2tsp soy sauce
- 1-2 packs of tori dango (chicken balls)
- Mushrooms, carrots, leeks, hakusai (Chinese cabbage)
- 1 pack of tofu 1 pack of abura (aged tofu)
- Ponzu for dipping
Cut the vegetables, aburu and tofu into bite sized pieces. Then set aside.
In a cooking pot heat 500ml soy milk on a low heat for a few minutes, meanwhile in another pan, heat 500ml water adding 1tsp dashi, 1tsp sake, a pinch of salt, 1tsp Asian chicken stock and 2tsp soy sauce. Then combine the two; the nabe soup is now complete.
Next add the chicken balls, or meat of your choice into the soup and leave till it begins to go white. Then, add the carrots as these take the longest to cook, after 5 minutes add all other ingredients, vegetables, tofu and abura. Cover with a lid and simmer for around 15minutes.
When the vegetables are cooked to your liking, turn off the heat and leave to stand for a few minutes without the lid. Serve and enjoy.
Nabe is often accompanied with ponzu for dipping, if you like the taste, then pour into a small bowl and get dipping.
Step 5, optional noodles
Once you have eaten all the vegetables and meat, you can add noodles to the remaining liquid, they will absorb all the flavours and taste especially oishii.
Many people like to add miso paste or sesame for an extra taste kick, so please experiment as much as you desire. Let me know which ingredients worked best for you.