On Christmas Day, which I spent in Nagoya, my friend’s mother prepared nabe, a typical Japanese winter dish. It is a hot pot, where you start out with water and kelp or maybe a thin soup, boil it on the table and add various other ingredients. Similar to cheese fondue, the finished meal is eaten directly from the pot.

Obviously, there are many different types of nabe, but I have chosen a fish-vegetable nabe that I prepared with another friend a while ago for you to try out.

Ingredients for Nabe

Recipe for Nabe à la Junko san
(for 2 people)

– 750 ml water – 1 piece of kelp
Put the water into the pot, add the kelp and start heating the water.

– 1/2 Chinese cabbage
– 2 spring onions
– 1 carrot
– 1 medium-sized Japanese white radish
Cut the above in small pieces and add to the pot. Let them boil slowly – at about 160 degrees – for a while.

– 1 pack of konyaku noodles
Add to the pot when the vegetables are about half done.

– 2 medium-sized pieces of codfish (any white fish is good, since it has no strong taste and does not smell)
– 4 large shrimp
– 1 pack of tofu
Cut the fish and tofu in smaller pieces, add to the pot when the vegetables are almost done.

When the shrimp have turned red and the fish is cooked, you can start eating. Nabe is usually served with rice, and the vegetables and fish are dipped in ponzu (soy sauce mixed with vinegar or lemon juice) before eating, partly as seasoning and partly to cool them off. The noodles are eaten last, together with the soup resulting from the cooking.