Shabu Shabu

When I was growing up, my folks would occasionally have sukiyaki and shabu shabu at home.  With the bad weather this past weekend, my wife suggested it might be nice if we did a shabu shabu for dinner.  This is what she had in mind:

A weekend shabu shabu at home

A shabu shabu at home (clockwise l to right from the bottom corner: SRF shabu cut wagyu,  baby corn/baby carrot/red bell pepper, shabu pork belly, xo sauce, bean thread noodles, romaine, shabu soup with enoki, fish meatballs, some corn, cress, cilantro in the center)

But a shabu shabu isn’t complete without dipping sauces.  I just took it for granted the raw egg/soy sauce dip for the sukiyaki was Japanese.  But I always wondered where the peanut butter/soy sauce dip for shabu shabu  originated.  I recently ran across an Simply Ming episode with Chef Ming Tsai visiting Japan.   In that episode, he was in Osaka having kobe/wagyu shabu shabu at Rakutaian.  The episode showed the making of a peanut dipping sauce for the shabu shabu.  At that point, I wanted to take a crack at making that sauce.  Chef Tsai has graciously published that recipe on the webpage:

https://www.ming.com/food-and-wine/recipes/simply-ming-season-11/peanut-dipping-sauce.htm

Shabu Shabu Dipping Sauce Cast Of Characters (clockwise l to r) ketchup, mirin soy sauce, usukuchi soy sauce, peanut butter (below the usukuchi), umeboshi paste, garlic (below umeboshi), tobanjang, tahini

Shabu Shabu Dipping Sauce Cast Of Characters (clockwise l to r) ketchup, mirin soy sauce, usukuchi soy sauce, peanut butter (below the usukuchi), umeboshi paste, garlic (below umeboshi), tobanjang, tahini

The original dipping sauce recipe made way too much for my wife and I, so I decided to rescale it as a microbatch version –

Microbatch version
4 T peanut butter
6 T ground sesame paste
3/4t aka miso (red miso)
1 1/8 t doubanjiang (Chinese chili bean paste. strained)
1 1/8 t ketchup
3/4 t garlic (here I would grate it, Nobu Style)
1 T pickled red plum paste (umeboshi paste or bainiku)
2 t + 1/4 t dark soy sauce (koikuchi shoyu)
1 t + 1/8 t light soy sauce (usukuchi shoyu)
1 T + 1 t + 1/2 t mirin

This microbatch makes about 1 cup/8 oz of sauce (packed)

Final dipping mix:
1 T peanut mixture
1 T + 3/8 t chicken stock (to thin) <here I would uses konbu broth>

Now THAT was more manageable!

portioning out the peanut butter...

portioning out the peanut butter…

...then the tahini

…then the tahini on top of it

trying to strain the tobajang (spicy chili bean paste, not the chili garlic sauce)

Trying to strain the tobanjang (spicy chili bean paste, not the chili garlic sauce)

straining the tobanjang took a lot of elbow grease!

straining the tobanjang took a lot of elbow grease!

I recommend mixing

* the peanut butter + the tahini (ground sesame paste) in one container
* the aka (red) miso, strained doubanjang, ketchup, garlic, umeboshi paste in another container
* the soy sauces/mirin in a third container

Adding the aka (red) miso

Adding the aka (red) miso…

then the ketchup

…then the ketchup…

I found it a pain in the neck trying to blend the ingredients in turn.   I think it’d be easier to mix the three sections separately and then trying to

then the garlic

…then the garlic

blending the soy sauces and the mirin

blending the soy sauces and the mirin

blend it all into the peanut butter/tahini mix.

....and trying to blend the whole thing together!

….and trying to blend the whole thing together!

...which made about a cup of dipping sauce base

…which made about a cup of dipping sauce base

Saved off until dinner time

Saved off until dinner time

In addition to all that, my wife and I decided to add shabu shabu pork belly to the mix.  From Nobu West (p.  171), there’s a write up for Shabu Shabu With Iberian Pork.  For that Nobu dish, a Jalapeno Ponzu was recommended as the dipping sauce.  That sauce is equal parts of Jalapeno Dressing and Ponzu.  So I made up a small patch of ponzu and a batch of Jalapeno dressing which I blended 3 tablespoons of ponzu and 3 tablespoons of the Jalapeno dressing. I portioned out the resulting sauce 3 tablespoons/dipping sauce cup.

Nobu Jalapenu Ponzu dipping sauce and 2 tablespoons of the peanut dipping sauce base (to be thinned out)

Nobu Jalapenu Ponzu dipping sauce and 2 tablespoons of the peanut dipping sauce base (to be thinned out)

2 tablespoons of the peanut dip sauce base (to be thinned out) and a portion of the Nobu Jalapeno Ponzu dipping sauce

Thinning out the peanut dipping sauce base with the equal parts of the konbu broth from the shabu shabu pot

My wife took charge of cooking the pork belly in the boiling konbu broth until the pieces were a completely opaque white.  The write up in Nobu West on Shabu Shabu instructs that you dip the wafer thin slices of meat into the boiling soup/broth/stock and ‘swish’ the meat side to side in the liquid for (at least) 10 seconds.

Shabu Shabu dinner is underway!

Shabu Shabu dinner is underway!

The jalapeno ponzu paired well with the shabu shabu cooked pork belly slices.  But surprisingly, the peanut dipping sauce also paired well with both the shabu shabu cooked wagyu and pork belly.  For my wife, this was the first time for her to have a peanut butter dipping sauce.  When she’s had shabu shabu back in Asia, the dipping sauce was soy sauce based, with interactively added flavors of chopped garlic, scallions, chilis and sa-cha sauce.  The peanut butter dipping sauce surprised my wife. She was expecting a sweet note to the peanut butter (some popular commercial American peanut butter brands have added sugar).  The peanut butter I used was the Whole Foods variety that had no added salt or sugar. All in all, it was a satisfying dinner for a cold wet night.

Notes:

As I mentioned earlier, for actually doing a shabu shabu, Nobu West provides a shabu shabu recipe.  The online recipe (and the sample ingredient list) can be found here.  For those who don’t like pork, thinly sliced shabu shabu beef can be substituted.

http://books.google.com/books?id=wPMvfj0W7isC&lpg=PA171&ots=WjP7edy1rU&dq=nobu%20shabu%20shabu%20recipe&pg=PA171#v=onepage&q=nobu%20shabu%20shabu%20recipe&f=false

I got the shabu shabu hot pot started by pouring in about 7 cups of konbu dashi (no bonito fish shavings) that I prepared on the stove.

Resources

Snake River Farms Wagyu, Shabu Shabu Style – HMart, Burlington, MA
Shabu Shabu Pork Belly                                          – HMart, Burlington, MA
Tobanjang (Chili BEAN Sauce )                           – Hong Kong Market, Allston, MA
Tahini                                                                          – Whole Foods, Newtonville, MA
Eden Foods Umeboshi Paste                                  – Whole Foods, Newtonville, MA

 

Advertisements

, , , , , ,

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: