Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dukan Nabe (Meat and Veggie Hot Pot)

Nabe - Not Traditional

It's been getting colder here...we actually had a few days in the high 60's (early in the morning and late in the evening) but that's gone away and we now have voggy humid weather again.  When it started to get colder, I started to crave nabes and shabu shabu...all Japanese style hot pots.  They can be very healthy and Dukan friendly if you don't over do it with the sauces.

Decided on a nabe a couple of weeks ago after dining at Ichiriki, a nabe/shabu shabu restaurant here in Honolulu.  Nabe's are basically seasoned broth with veggies and meats to cook in the broth.  You can find already prepared Nabe broth's in asian stores and some asian food sections in grocery stores, but it's easy to make your own broth too.

I'm embarrassed to say I never wrote down my late grandmother's nabe recipes but back when I was a child, nabe's were really simple broths.  I don't recall my grandmother making kimchee nabes, etc.  This recipe seemed close to what I remember my grandmother using (minus the gochujang).  We followed this recipe but it wasn't very hot nor was it very flavorful.  It could have used more spice and probably more soy sauce.

At the time we made this recipe, we couldn't find any shabu shabu cuts of beef or pork so we went with the batayaki which is still thin, but too thick for our tastes.

Serves 2 (with lots of leftover broth which we used to make a stir fry and added to our scrambled eggs)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: less than 10

1 liter water
1.5 T. dashi powder (fish powder but you can use chicken boullion if you don't like the taste of fish)
1 T. gochujang (Korean chili paste -not Dukan, but you don't use a lot) or some other spice you prefer - add it in little by little until you find a taste you like)
1-3 T. natural sweetener (again, add little by little until you find a taste you like)
3 T. light soy sauce

Veggies and Meat:
1 block firm tofu, cut into cubes (not too small or your tofu will fall apart)
1 bunch bok choy, choy sum, spinach, or Chinese cabbage (other veggies will work too, even regular head cabbage)
1 package enoki mushrooms (or other kinds of mushrooms like button, shiitake, etc)
1 package shirataki noodles (we've never used the tofu shirataki noodles, but you can certainly try it)
1 or 2 packages of shabu shabu cut meat (pork or beef)

Boil water, add the other broth ingredients to the boiling water, mix well.  Let boil about 10 minutes, then simmer.

Cut and clean your veggies.  Try to cut your items into similar sizes or at least sized so they will cook in the same amount of time.  Place them in your nabe pot (we have a modern one...my cousin inherited our grandmother's clay pot) - see our photos.  I usually prefer the two of us sitting down and eating straight out of the pot...what you'll see in Nabe restaurants is your pot of broth, a plate of uncooked food nicely laid out, a chawan or small bowl of rice and a bowl to hold your cooked food.  You'll notice a lot of people picking food out of the pot laying it on their rice and then eating it.  It was a busy day for us, so I cooked everything in the pot, then put food and broth into two bowls....I ate while finishing up some work and the male half ate his while working on the photography stuff.  There's no wrong way to do this in our opinion.  Same goes with the veggies, use what you like to eat and what will hold up in boiling water.  NOTE: I rolled up our beef thinking it would be a good idea, but hindsight, it boiled into a little ball which wasn't too appetizing when it came out of the pot.  Next time I will just lay it in the pot or cook it like you would cook meats in shabu shabu by swishing it in the boiling broth.

Once you have everything in your pot, pour enough broth into your pot to almost cover the food in your pot.  We have an electrical pot, so we turned our pot on, let the food boil several minutes until the veggies were soft enough, the tofu was heated through and the meat was cooked.

Again, eat straight from the pot or you can place food and broth into your bowl.

Enjoy...we always do!

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