Shabu Shabu

Stefan Gates makes an interpretation of the famous Japanese dish where a selection of raw meats and vegetables are laid out on the table around a central pot of simmering broth, and the diners cook their meal for themselves by dipping the foods in
By Stefan Gates
Shabu Shabu
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the broth

  • 4 stems lemongrass, bashed with a rolling pin
  • 1 large red chilli, halved lengthways
  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger, thickly sliced
  • 2.5 litres water

For the shabu shabu

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 500 g beef fillet, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 kg large cooked shell-on prawns, shells and heads removed and reserved for the broth
  • 1/2 Chinese leaf cabbage, broken up into separate leaves, then each leaf halved
  • 250 g broccoli, broken into small florets
  • 250 g carrots, cut diagonally into thin slices
  • 1 large handfuls fresh coriander, roots and leaves
  • 1 bundle enoki mushrooms

For the sauce

  • 100 ml soy sauce
  • 50 ml mirin
  • 50 ml rice vinegar, or Mirin
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 egg yolk

To serve

  • Ponzu sweetened soy sauce or soy sauce
  • Cooked egg noodles

Tips and Suggestions

this dish is so named as the Japanese think that the noise of the meat being waved through the water sounds like shabu-shabu


1. You will need a little gas burner or a fondue pot with burner to keep the broth simmering at the table. Some of those very cheap wooden disposable chopsticks would be good too.

2. For the broth: put the lemon grass, chilli, ginger and water in a large saucepan. Add the shells and heads from the prawns. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. Strain into the fondue pot and discard the solids.

3. For the shabu shabu: prepare the meat and prawns and lay out on serving plates. Put in the fridge. Lay the vegetables and mushrooms on serving plates too.

4. For the sauce: combine all the ingredients and mix with a fork. Divide between three small bowls.

5. Put a tabletop burner in the middle of the table, and put the fondue pot on it on a low heat so that it simmers gently. Lay the plates of meat, vegetables and sauces around the table. Put some ponzu and soy sauce in small bowls as well.

6. Give everyone soup bowls and chopsticks and encourage them to start cooking their own food meat and prawns first, then vegetables. Each piece of food only takes about 10-60 second to cook, then it should be fished out, dipped in one of the sauces and eaten.

7. When all the main ingredients are finished, add the cooked noodles, then ladle them out with the broth for a nice, clean, head-clearing soup.

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