Hello from Yuka from Ichiroya. Ogenki desuka? How are you?
We went to vote for House of Representative election tonight. A cold wave hit Japan this weekend, we did not have snow but the air was so chilly.
On a cold day like this, best dinner is Nabe! Why don't you join us for dinner?
Nabe literally means `pot' and nabe cooking is Japanese hot pot. You can put vegetables and meat or seafood. You can put a lot of vegetable, and tofu is very good too. There is no strict rule, it is like a simple bouillabaisse or stew-you can boil almost anything you like!
Tonight, we had yosenabe(hot pot with seafood).
At fist, we prepare dashi, soup stock. Dashi by kombu(kelp) is good. Today we had most basic type of nabe, with soysauce base taste. It is very convenient now that there are those dashi sold at supermarket. Bottle or pouch type were popular, I tried the new `cube' type this time.
There are all kinds of fish packed for nabe cooking in supermarket. Shrimp, cram, surimi(fish ball) are very good too..
The kanji letter on the left of each pack is `nabe'. Tonight, we have Kawahagi(Thread-sail file fish) and Tara(Cod).
I prepared vegetable before going to a vote, so it was very nice, we could start dinner right after we came home. All I needed to do was to cut vegetables.
We had Hakusai(Chinese Cabbage), Shungiku(Garland Chrysanthemum),Enoki(Enoki mushroom), Shimeji(Shimeji mushroom), Naganegi(Green onion) and Ninjin(Carrot). We had tofu also.
Ingreadients are ready. Now we need this Casette Stove(table-top propane gas cooking stove). It is very handy- I remember when I was small, when we had hot pot cooking, there was a long hose of gas. We placed the stove carefully and tried not to step on the hose. The Casette stove is very handy! You can just place the can of gas, there is no need of hose. I think EVERYONE has this type of stove for table cooking at home in Japan. We placed the stove in the center of the table and started cooking.
Tonight, Ichiro, Mugi(our daughter) and I had dinner together. The good point of Nabe cooking is,
*If someone comes for supper unexpectedly, it is still fine, we can just add more ingreadients.
*You can put almost anything-thin clices of pork, beef, chicken and any kind of seafood.
*It is quite healthy- you can eat a lot of vegetables. No oil is needed
*It is very easy to prepare-all we need is to cut ingreadients and call everyone.
There are many kinds of Nabe soup stock now besides, basic shoyo(saysauce), there are miso, tomato, curry and so on. Soy milk taste is popular also!
Table cooking is fun and makes us warm-You can eat Nabe at restaurants also but having Nabe with families and friends make us feel closer! Cooking and eating together, surrounding the steamy pot!
Onaji kamano meshiwo kuu literally means, `Eat from one pot' which means live under the same roof).
At the end of year, many people have year-end party(Bonenkai) together with colleague or friends. Many restaurants offer nabe for those parties. At Nabe party, you can see people's personality (some people are picky about ingriedients and heat, some people are bossy-willing to be in charge and give lecture about which ingriedients go first and so on). It is a casual and at-home cooking which makes everyone closer as famlies.
We hope you enjoy Japanese hot pot, Nabe if you have a chance!