Friday, August 6, 2010

Japanese hot pots #1

Well, this will be the first in a long, long series, I can tell.  Yes, it is August 6, and yes, I am way overheated, but I still couldn't resist!

This could very easily become my favorite food.

All this is based on the technique of Tadashi Ono which is apparently laid bare in his book entitled Japanese Hot Pots.  I'm not going to buy this book, however, despite Mr. Ono's spirited defense of tofu in the face of a complete-barbarian-ignorant-small-minded-train-wreck-of-a-host-why-does-she-still-have-a-job person at New York's LXTV, only because I'm expecting it to be totally non-vegan.  Anyway, the book's site will give you lots of information on how to put together a hot pot, and I was just gripped.  It's 26C out there, I'm in heat distress, have few of the proper ingredients on hand, and I still was compelled to make this.

How do you do it?  First, you "build" the hot pot.  Cut some savoy cabbage into bite-sized pieces and place it in the bottom of your pot:

Now add the other long-cooking ingredients, arranging them as prettily as possible in "corners" on top of the cabbage:

Pour on vegetable stock just until you can see it in the pan, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes (for carrots, turnips, mushrooms, etc., as shown here):

When these vegetables are just tender, uncover and add something soft, in this case broccoli rabe and green onions. I also added a bit of sesame oil, for flavour:

Cover and cook a little longer, until the new vegetables are tender as well.

Ooh, it's done!

Now spoon over noodles or rice, and enjoy:

So simple, and so awesome...


  1. Looks great! I've been meaning to try a Japanese hot pot for awhile now--thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Beautiful - as always! Photography as well as your instructions. Looks good enough to eat :O)

    Your kitty is super smart -- they love ceramic when it's hot out. My cat loves to jump in the tub and lick any leftover water from showers or baths. I often find her draped around the back of the toilet when it's super hot!

  3. Oh, WOW! This looks awesome! I can imagine a million variations on this. I will definitely be making this....but I might wait until it gets a little cooler out! It does look like perfect fall/winter food.

    What *is* up with the tofu-haters?

  4. I LOVE hotpots and this looks fantastic, even if it IS too hot outside to be making it. (At least it doesn't require a lot of exertion — or the oven.) And you can make it spicy which will make you sweat, and cool you down. And you can have something cold for dessert.

  5. I've never heard of Japanese Hot Pot! Looks more Korean with all the spices.

  6. Thanks for all your comments! I should add that nothing about this hot pot is specifically Japanese except the technique--there's no reason at all why you couldn't make it Italian or Greek or Hungarian or whatever. I was just trying it out this time, but in the future I will be experimenting with making it much spicier.

    That said, I was at the oriental market today and bought some of the bona fide traditional ingredients, including shirataki noodles, so keep checking back!

  7. I would battle through the heat for these any day. They look full of big chunky ingredients; I love those tofu chunks. Looks simply delicious...can't wait to see future versions.

  8. I don't recall seeing this on your blog before but what brand of Tofu do you buy? I tried to buy some Asian organic Tofu and a very aggressive representative from House Foods prevented me from doing so. Now I'm stuck with several blocks of House Food's brand Tofu. Is that what you use?

  9. Shenandoah, I'm sorry you had a bad tofu encounter. Generally I'm afraid I buy the tofu in my local supermarket, which is Sunrise brand, but there are so many tofu-buyers at my supermarket that it goes fast and is always fresh. Sometimes I venture to a local tofu factory near-ish to where I work and buy theirs, which is awesome and just made that day...

  10. Oh okay, your Tofu looks unusually tasty in the pictures.