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What is "Nabe"?
What does Nabe mean?
Nabe (鍋) can literally be translated as "hot pot" in English. It refers to the cooking utensil, as well as the dish itself. So nabe is cooked in a nabe, if that makes sense.
History of Hot pot in Japan
Before the modern period, a lot of Japanese houses had Japanese style hearth called "irori" (囲炉裏). This hearth was used as a cooking tool, light source or heating source in the winter.
You can see the Japanese "irori" in the middle of the room in this picture.
The oldest record of a hot pot dish goes all the way back to 17th century, but it's believed that cooking pot dishes using the hearth was common before that. Hot pot dishes not using a hearth started in the late 18th century.
Then hot pot became popular among normal families in 19th century because of gas stoves and electric hobs.
Popular Nabe dishes in Japan
There are so many popular hot pot dishes in Japan that I can't possibly name them all, but these are the very common ones:
- Sukiyaki (すき焼き)
- Motsu Nabe (もつ鍋)
- Oden (おでん)
- Chanko Nabe (ちゃんこ鍋)
- Kimchi Nabe (キムチ鍋)
There are also "new wave" dishes where they use unusual sauces and ingredients such as:
- Tonyu (Soy milk) Nabe (豆乳鍋)
- Tomato Nabe (トマト鍋)
- Mikan (Orange) Nabe (みかん鍋)
Literally, the possibility of hot pot is endless!
Japanese Twist of a Korean dish
Kimchi nabe comes from a Korean dish "Kimchi-jjigae" which is Korean spicy kimchi soup/hot pot.
It's so good that it became very popular in Japanese home cooking, then I can even say it's a very common dish to make during winter in Japan.
The Japanese version tends to use miso to soften the spiciness and also the meat is cooked directly in the soup.
Beer as a secret ingredient!?
This might be unbelievable, but there's a new trend that beer makes hot pot tastier.
The idea is the beer yeast, more specifically amino acid in beer yeast has a big potential to create umami. To be honest, it might not be a surprise seeing as some European stews use beer too.
Well, the point is, it's good so I used it in today's recipe!
(If you don't want to use alcohol in your hot pot, you can replace the beer with water or even dashi stock or chicken stock.)
This recipe uses ingredients such as:
- Spring Onion / leek
- Chinese Chives
- Enoki Mushrooms
- Hakusai (Napa cabbage / Chinese cabbage)
- Chicken Thigh
- Firm Tofu
But you can easily use alternative ingredients, there is no rule for hot pot! That's the beauty of it!
Here are some other recommended ingredients:
- White cabbage
- Glass noodles
- Any mushrooms you like
You can add or reduce according to your preference and the availability of ingredients around your area.
Check out our video for How to make Kimchi NabePrint
Step by step recipe
Kimchi Nabe Hotpot from Scratch
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
Warm up on a cold winter's day with this delicious, warming and filling kimchi hotpot. Made with tender chicken thigh, firm tofu and packed with vegetables, it's not only tasty but nourishing too. The broth also contains a secret ingredient and you'll be surprised how well it goes!
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 tbsp Sesame oil
- 200g (7oz) Cabbage Kimchi
- ¼ (30g) Leek / Long Onion
- 200g (7oz) Beansprouts
- ¼ cup (10g) Chinese Chives
- 1½ cups (100g) Enoki Mushrooms (or your preferred mushroom)
- 1¼ cups (100g) Hakusai (Napa/Chinese cabbage)
- ½ lb (200g) Chicken Thigh
- 5oz (150g) Firm Tofu
- 0.4 cups (100ml) Beer *secret ingredient!
- 1 tbsp Awase Miso paste
- 1 tbsp Tsuyu
- First, slice the garlic and fry in a deep pan or pot with 1 tbsp of sesame oil.
- Wash your vegetables and set the Chinese chive aside for now.
- Prepare the meat and vegetables while the garlic is cooking. Roughly cut the Chinese cabbage and slice the spring onion diagonally into slanted pieces. Cut the ends off the enoki mushrooms and cut the chicken thigh into bitesize pieces. (I recommend removing the skin for this recipe to avoid rubbery chicken. Alternatively, you can add it with the garlic first to seal the edges and crisp up the skin.)
- When the garlic is golden, add 200g of kimchi to the pot.
- Add your Chinese cabbage, spring onion, enoki mushrooms and beansprouts to the pot with 1 tbsp of tsuyu sauce.
- Add 100ml of beer and 1 tbsp of miso paste to the pot and mix.
- Next add the chicken to the pot.
- Put the lid on and cook for 10 mins on a low heat.
- After 10 mins, cut the firm tofu into cubes and add it to the pot. Simmer with the lid for another 10 mins. (20 mins simmering in total)
- Cut the Chinese chives into 5cm long pieces.
- Mix well, you can serve up individual portions or serve it in the pot in "help yourself" sharing style.
- Garnish with the Chinese chives and enjoy by itself or with a bowl of rice!
As this dish is a bit spicy, it goes well with rice. But you can always add noodles to the pot if you wish.
If you can't find Chinese chives, regular chives are also okay.
You can use another meat instead of chicken, this dish is usually made with pork belly. You can also use seafood! And if you want to completely omit meat and make a vegetarian version it will still be tasty.
If you don't want to use alcohol in your cooking, you can use non-alcoholic beer too. If you really don't want to use beer at all you can replace the beer with water or even dashi stock / chicken stock for a deeper flavour.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Mains
- Method: Simmering
- Cuisine: Japanese
Keywords: Japanese Kimchi Hot Pot, Japanese kimchi nabe recipe, Chicken kimchi nabe, Chicken kimchi hot pot, Chicken hot pot, kimchi hot pot calories, kimchi hot pot easy, Japanese hot pot recipe, Kimchi recipes, Korean kimchi stew, Japanese kimchi stew, Kimchi stew recipe, Kimchi jjigae, Kimchi jjigae recipe without gochujang,
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