Also simply known as ‘nabe’, the word means ‘pot’, and refers to Japanese one pot-style cooking. There are many different styles, family preferences and regional specialities, making each nabe experience different and exciting.
Nabe is quite a simple dish, comprising of a few chopped ingredients, such as vegetables, mushrooms and a little meat being lightly boiled for a few minutes. Udon noodles can also be added to the pot to eat with the meat and vegetables, but in the Kansai region (western Japan), nabe can be eaten with both udon and rice.
The pot is placed in the middle of the table where everyone takes what they want from it and places it into their own bowls. Ponzu is a citrus based sauce that is usually eaten with nabe, but another common method is to whip a raw egg in your own bowl and dip the meat and vegetables into it.
New chopped ingredients are added to the same water and as time goes on the water becomes more and more flavoursome. The next day, the water can be used to make Zousui – a rice based porridge made by boiling the rice in the meat/vegetable stock of the previous night’s nabe.
Nabe is absolutely delicious and is so simple to make. I don’t even think of it as a real ‘dish’ because you don’t need to follow any kind of recipe or rule. A nabe pot can be thrown together in minutes and is a perfect repesentation of the Japanese’s quick and simple yet elegant and tasty traditional food style.
Nabe is one of those dishes that I’m definitely something to try during my travels all over Japan because each place will probably have it’s own signature style.
Also, it’s a great dish to eat with friends since you’re all sharing the same pot, you can chat and have fun cooking at the same time. (Alternatively, you can sneakily try to steal the best bits whilst distracting your friends with small talk).