Japanese steamboat (Nabe)

Posted July 18th, 2010 in Food 2 Comments »

Another winter food in Japan is….  yes, Nabe!

Nabe, or Nabemono, is a term referring to all varieties of Japanese steamboat dishes.  The pots are traditionally made of clay or thick cast iron so that the food can be kept warm for a while after being taken off the fire.  In modern Japan, nabemono are kept hot at the dining table by portable stove. The dish is frequently cooked at the table, and the diners can pick the cooked ingredients they want from the pot. It is either eaten with the broth or with a dip. Further ingredients can also be successively added to the pot.  Eating together from a shared pot is considered as an important feature of nabemono.  (wiki)

Actually, nabe simply means “pot” in Japanese, but we call the steamboat that people eat together in winter “nabe” too.  To think about it, it sounds little funny..  “let’s eat nabe!” can mean “let’s eat the pot!”

Unfortunately I don’t have clay or cast iron pot here, so I made it with normal pot.  I added as many ingredients as possible…..  same as oden, more ingredients you add more flavorsome it becomes.

The typical ingredients for nabe in my house are Chinese cabbage, spring onion, tofu, carrot, chicken (or pork or fish) meat balls, chicken meat with bones, mushrooms, and kuzukiri – starch noodle.  Kuzukiri is one of my favorite food in nabe: it’s chewy.  You can add any ingredients you like, such as spinach, fish meat, fishcakes, udon etc etc.

It’s fun to gather friends and share a nabe on the table while watching tv.  This time, I made nabe with chicken soup.


<Nabe in chicken soup>

  1. Cut ingredients into desired size.  Place the ingredient all together in a pot.  If you are using Chinese cabbage, place them on top as if it covers the entire food.
  2. Add chicken stock (depends on the size of the pot, but I used 1 L for a very large pot)
  3. Bring to the boil, then simmer.  You can do this process on the portable stove on the table.
  4. Eat as it cooks.  Add ponzu directly into the pot, or use ponzu as a dipping sauce.
There are many different flavors of nabe, including kimuchi, miso, seafood, soy milk, and curry.

2 Comments on “Japanese steamboat (Nabe)”

  1. 1 YL said at 9:46 am on July 19th, 2010:

    I just had nabeyaki udon yesterday night too! I agree its a good winter food! 😀

  2. 2 umepontarou said at 10:24 am on July 19th, 2010:


    It warms up our body, doesn’t it? 😀

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