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Japanese recipes


This entertaining dish is called shabu shabu because the ingredients are "swished swished" back and forth in a pot of boiling broth. Shabu shabu is one of Japan's most popular dish cooked at the dinner table and very entertaining for each person actually cooks their own dinner. A wonderful and fun dish to have for dinner parties that involves all your guests.

Shabu shabu is normally served at restaurants in a gleaming hoko-nabe pot that is shaped like a doughnut with a chimney style hole in the center, however the donabe also works wonderfully for shabu shabu.


Ingredients: Serves 4
1 1/2 pounds tender sirloin beef (sliced very thin and arranged on a serving platter)
8 fresh Chinese black mushrooms or large white button (remove stems, cut an "x" at the top)
2 long green onions (cut into diagonal 1 1/2" lengths)
2 ounces harusame (clear filament noodle), (soak in lukewarm water and cut into 4" lengths)
4 ounces of shungiku edible chrysanthemum leaves or spinach (trim off ends, boiled lightly)
4 large Chinese cabbage leaves (boiled lightly, spread 2 cabbage leaves on a sushi mat, fill with par-boiled shungiku or spinach. Roll it up. Cut into 1 1/2" pieces) 
2 tofu cakes (rinsed, cut into 1 1/2" squares)
Broth - 6 cups dashi - directions below (konbu, bonito flakes)

Arrange sliced beef and vegetable ingredients above on several platters. 

Dipping Sauce & Condiments:
Ponzu-joyu (dipping sauce): Pre-made ponzu-joyu dipping sauce is sold at all oriental grocery stores or you can make your own. 

* 2 bottles of Ponzu sauce - I really like the brand distributed by Nihon Shokken Co.. Because the bottle is written completely in Japanese I will describe the bottle for you. It is a 5.9 fluid ounce short plastic bottle with a green cap. The back has a white American label that says "shabushabu sauce citrus flavor, 5.9 ounces."

* finely chopped scallion (used to season the ponzu sauce)
* grated daikon sprinkled with powdered red pepper and mixed (used to season the ponzu sauce)

Ponzu-joyu - Make your own:  Mix all ingredients below but the sliced lemon, allow to stand for 10 minutes. Remove konbu and add sliced lemon.
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2" piece of konbu
5 tablespoons of dashi
2 lemon slices

How to make a Basic Dashi (bonito fish stock broth)
4 cups water
8" long konbu (dried kelp)
1 cup dried bonito flakes


At the Dinner Table
Place arranged platters on the dining table and give each guest a plate and small side bowls of ponzu sauce, grated daikon and chopped scallions. (The grated daikon and chopped scallions are used to season the ponzu sauce if desired.) 

Fill a large donabe dish 3/4 full with dashi and bring to a boil. Add more dashi as it boils off. Guests select a little of the different ingredients at a time and place into the boiling broth. Occasionally skim off froth from the surface of the broth.


Care & Use of Donabe - Though the donabe takes direct flame, the pot must not be shocked with sudden high heat or cold. The donabe can be used in both the oven, on an open flame or electric stove top. The unglazed outside must be completely dry before placing it on a burner or water in the porous clay will expand and crack the dish. Like all dishes, it should never be left empty on any type of heat. The donabe can be placed in the dish washer but take great care that it does not hit other pots or pans during the was cycle for it may crack or chip it. It is best to hand wash the donabe.

Yakitori - Skewered grilled chicken

Yakitori is grilled chicken speared on sticks. All different parts of the chicken, thighs, skin, liver, etc. can be used for yakitori. The following recipe shows one of the most popular kind which is prepared with chicken thighs and leek.


* This ingredient may not be available in Western supermarkets, but you should be able to find it in Japanese grocery stores that exist in most large European and American cities.


  1.   Mix together 4 tablespoons of soya sauce, 3 tablespoons of sugar, a little bit of honey or maple syrup, a little bit of mirin and water, and heat it up until it's homogenous.
  2.   Cut the chicken thighs into about 3x2x2cm large pieces.
  3.   Put the chicken pieces into the already prepared sauce, and let it stand for a while.
  4. Cut the leek or green onions in about 3 cm long pieces.
  5.   Spear three or four pieces of chicken and some leek on each wooden stick.
  6. Grill them, or use the oven at 200 degrees celsius. (You may want to wrap the wooden sticks with aluminium foil; otherwise, they may burn off.)

Tempura - Seafood and vegetables deep fried in tempura batter

Tempura was brought to Japan by the Potuguese. Today Tempura is a very popular Japanese food, and as well one of the best known outside of Japan.


* This ingredient may not be available in Western supermarkets, but you should be able to find it in Japanese grocery stores that exist in most large European and American cities.


  1. Prawn: Remove the head and the shell. Make little cuts on the inside of the curved prawn since they look nicer if their posture is straight.
  2. Cut the vegetables in about 1cm thick pieces.
  3. You can use whole mushrooms.
  4.   Mixtures: Cut various ingredients in small pieces and mix them together, eg. green onion, prawn and carots.
  5. Mix Tempura flour with the amount of water described on the package. Do not mix it completely, but leave some small lumps in it.
  6. Cover all the ingredients completely with the batter.
    Mix also the mixtures made of the small cut ingredients with batter, and try to deep fry it together. Don't let them fall apart in all the pieces.
  7. Deep fry at 180 degrees celsius. Be careful, and do not use wet ingredients because the water would react strongly with the hot oil, which may harm your skin or eyes.
  8.   When the Tempura pieces are beautifully golden, take them out, and try to remove as much oil as possible.

Serving and eating:

There are a few different ways to serve Tempura. Here are two of them: