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shabu shabu recipe card

Shabu Shabu

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: done at the table
  • Total Time: 24 minute
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Japanese



For the broth:

  • 1 piece kombu seaweed  (about 4”x3”)

For the Shabu Shabu:

  • 1/2 head medium napa cabbage (about 1 lb)
  • 1 package medium-firm tofu, 14 oz 
  • 6 pieces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 packet enoki mushroom (7 oz)
  • 1 package shimeji mushrooms (3.5 oz)
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2 block frozen boiled udon noodles (about 16 ounces)
  • 1 block pink kamaboko fish cake
  • 1 ½ pounds thinly sliced rib eye beef


  • 4” piece daikon radish
  • shichimi 7-spice chile powder
  • 1/2 bunch scallions cut into thin rounds


Ponzu either purchased or homemade 

Roasted sesame sauce:

  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoon neutral oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Make the sesame sauce:

  1. Pour the sesame seeds into a dry skillet and heat over medium heat. Stir frequently to evenly toast the sesame seeds for about 3-4 mins. (It is important not to let the seeds burn). 
  2. The sesame seeds should have a golden color and a nutty fragrance.
  3. Put the seeds into a blender or food processor. 
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend/process until the sauce is smooth and thick. The sauce should be thick, like a pureed soup, but not like peanut butter. Add a couple tablespoons of water if needed to thin.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce will keep for 3-4 days.

Prepare the garnishes:

  1. Peel the daikon and then grate it using a Japanese style grater or the medium size on a box grater. Drain off some of the juice and set aside in a small bowl.
  2. Slice the scallions thinly into small rounds.
  3. Put the scallions into a colander and rinse them to eliminate some of the strong flavor. Set aside to drain and then put the scallions in a small bowl.
  4. Refrigerate the garnishes until you’re ready to bring everything to the table. 

Prepare the ingredients:

Beef:  (If you didn’t buy pre-shaved and need to slice it yourself)

  1. Put the beef in the freezer. You will need to freeze the meat for 1-2 hours until the meat is very firm but not frozen solid. 
  2. Using a very sharp knife, slice paper thin cuts across the grain making the slices as uniform as possible. 
  3. Make small neat stacks on a plate. (I like to fold the beef in half so each slice is easier to pick up).
  4. You can put the meat back into the freezer in a storage container if prepping the meat ahead of time or put it into the refrigerator if you are making the hot pot that day.

Prepare other ingredients:


  1. Defrost the udon noodles, either by putting them in the fridge overnight, letting them sit under running water, or microwaving them under low power for a couple minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut out the core of the napa cabbage using your knife to make an inverted “v” at the bottom of the cabbage. Cut the napa cabbage in half lengthwise and then into 2 inch pieces crosswise. Put the cabbage onto a large shallow bowl/platter.
  3. Rinse the watercress and trim off 1/4 inch off of the bottom. Cut the greens into 2 inch pieces and add them to the platter.
  4. Open the package of tofu and drain the water. Cut the tofu in thirds lengthwise and then crosswise to yield 18 small blocks. Arrange the tofu on the platter.
  5. Slice the stems off of the shiitakes and add them to the platter. (If you would like to be decorative, you can cut out tiny slivers to make a snowflake pattern).
  6. Cut off the growing medium from the enoki mushrooms and the hard stems from the wild mushrooms. Break or cut the other mushrooms into manageable pieces and arrange them onto the platter. 
  7. Wash the scallions and cut them into 2 inch pieces. Tuck them onto the plate. 
  8. Arrange the sliced beef on a separate platter and bring to the table when ready to start.

When ready to cook:

  1. Fill a pot, around 4 quarts large ⅔ of the way with water and add the kombu. Let the kombu sit in the water while you set up the table.
  2. Bring all of the ingredient platters to the table. Bring chopsticks, tongs, and some ladles to help fish out the tofu and other soft slippery items from the cooking pot.  
  3. Bring the sauces and garnishes to the table. Give each person 2 small bowls for the sauces and a small plate. Have everyone garnish their sauces as you wait for the water to simmer. 
  4. Set the pot over a portable burner and bring the water to a simmer over high heat. As soon as it starts to simmer, take out the kombu.
  5. Then add some tofu, napa cabbage, and mushrooms to the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.Then take the lid off and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. You may have to adjust the temperature several times, raising the temperature when you add raw ingredients and lowering it when they are finished cooking, or as people slow their eating pace.
  6. Swish the beef slices in the water to cook to your liking. It takes less than a minute. Japanese people call the hot pot shabu shabu because of the sound the beef makes as it’s being dipped into the simmering water. 
  7. Take an assortment of meat and vegetables and dip them into the sauce and enjoy.
  8. Skim off the scum and foam from the surface as you cook, keeping the broth clear. Keep a fine mesh skimmer in a small bowl filled with water at the table so you can easily skim as you cook. 
  9. Add more vegetables and meat as you take from the pot, keeping the newly added items in a separate corner of the pot. Keep the water at a simmer, adjusting the heat as needed. Add more water as needed. 
  10. It’s traditional to cook the noodles at the end once the veggies have been finished but my family has many impatient children who cannot wait! We usually add them to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients.


*You can make the platter early in the day and then cover and refrigerate it until ready to use. It is best to prep the platter the same day that you will be making the hotpot. 

*If you don’t have watercress, feel free to substitute it for shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves) which is traditional, some spinach or shanghai bok choy, or even broccoli rabe which is also delicious.

*Sometimes for a change, we like to make a rice porridge at the end instead of having udon noodles. Once most of the veggies have been consumed, (or everyone is starting to get full), skim the broth (you should have about ½ a pot of broth) and add 2 cups of cooked rice. Crack and scramble 2 eggs lightly. Add the eggs to the pot and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the eggs have just set. Pour a little ponzu sauce into the pot to season the rice or use a little salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy.

*If you buy raw sesame seeds, toast them the same way, adding 3-4 minutes.

Keywords: shabu shabu, hot pot, japanese, beef, shiitake, ponzu