Posts Tagged ‘nabe’

Fresh nabe ideas bubbling up

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Konabe Shabu Shabu Dining Nabe Sennin, where customers get to create their own nabe

Cuisine featuring nabe, the traditional Japanese hot pot, has been at to the top of the dining trends in recent years. Curry nabe, tomato nabe, collagen nabe, pizza nabe . . . They’re all popular nabe trends that have bubbled up. Since we covered the topic in 2010, according to Nikkei Woman Online, nabe trends have stayed hot during the winter months, especially on the restaurant scene. Here are a couple of restaurants who are rewriting the rule book:

The use of Western ingredients like tomato sauce and cheese has been one of the most noticeable trends in nabe, so it comes as no surprize that Koshitsu Modern Dining in Tachikawa, Tokyo, has come up with a shabu shabu broth that contains red wine. The fish-based soup is designed to be used for cooking wagyu (Japanese beef) in. The red wine soup is served alongside a cheese fondue style dipping sauce, making this a distinctly Western-style dish.

The dish, which costs ¥1,800, is designed to be consumed with a glass of wine and the restaurant carries a decent selection of domestically produced wines. Adapting traditional Japanese dishes to make them a better match for wine has been in vogue for some time and we’ve seen restaurants such as Kappo Odajima craft their menus to create a culinary harmony between Japanese food and wine. It seems only natural then that nabe also get this treatment. Domestic wines, which tend to have more delicate flavours that blend well with Japanese cuisine, are also proving increasingly popular, so we think Koshitsu’s nabe dovetails well with both these trends.

Rather than try to come up with a totally new nabe variety, one restaurant is letting customers do it themselves. At Konabe Shabu Shabu Dining Nabe Sennin in Shibuya, Tokyo, diners begin by choosing from a variety of 15 basic nabe soups, then on to a basic dipping sauce such as sesame or ponzu to which they can mix in a range of 30 spices. In the final stage, they can select extra ingredients — veggies, meat or fish — for their nabe at a self-service counter. Popular nabe soups include: Cloudy Chicken Wing Collagen Nabe and Pork Kimchee Gochujang (spicy Korean sauce) Nabe. According to Nikkei Woman Online, this winter popular seasonings are Asian ginseng and ginger, both of which are purported to be good for boosting the immune system.

Part of the fun of nabe in a restaurant is  that you are the cook, preparing it on a portable stove at your table. Though staff are on hand to give advice if needed, we’re guessing that customers will only have themselves to blame if they cook up something really stomach-churning.

Taking stock: new trends for the Japanese hot pot

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

The supermarket shelves stock an ever widening variety of nabe

The supermarket shelves stock an ever widening variety of nabe

Nabe is comfort food for many Japanese, a proletarian dish that brings people together to share from a bubbling hot pot of goodness. Of late, though, this traditional dish has seen some mutations, such as curry nabe, cheese nabe, tomato nabe and even collagen nabe, all aimed at satisfying the public’s appetite for novelty.

The proliferation of new readymade nabe soup-stock products also gave time-strapped consumers a wider choice of ready-made stock. According to Asahi.com, food companies such as Kagome and Nagatanien have taken their tips for nabe trends from restaurants that push the nabe envelope. For instance, when in 2006, curry nabe appeared on the menu at Denshibou in Sangenjaya, the following year saw instant curry nabe stock, like this curry nabe from House, appear on supermarket shelves.

The collagen nabe boom followed in 2008 and was extremely popular with women looking to take advantage of the reported skin-smoothing benefits of chicken or pork collagen. Next up was tomato nabe in 2009. That year both Kagome and Nagatanien introduced tomato nabe soup stocks that proved hugely popular with children, as the rich red soup stock goes well with either cheese or eggs to produce kid-friendly pizza nabe or omuraisu (rice omelette) nabe concoctions.

This year it look like ramen nabe will rule the dinner table – or that’s what Nissin, who’ve just brought out two new types of ramen nabe stock, is banking on. Will this latest product enjoy the same success as its predecessors? A strong indication that it might is the fact that the dish has been appearing in many Tokyo restaurants lately: Umibun Nabebun in Hamamatsu make a ramen nabe, Manbutaki in Sangenjiaya serve up a rafute (okinawan glazed pork belly) nabe and Chiyomoranma in Kanda do a chicken leek ramen nabe.

So what makes ramen nabe different from normal ramen? Well,  in the case of all the above restaurants, you cook your nabe on a pot over a burner at your own table instead of having it served to you. Also, like other nabe and unlike traditional ramen, you add plenty of vegetables. If you’re cooking at home, what you put in your ramen nabe soup is up to you but if you need guidelines, check out this recipe on Cookpad.

While Nissin’s ramen nabe, which comes in both tonkotsu and chicken with soy sauce flavors, looks set to take off as the next big thing in Japanese supermarkets, there might be one last obstacle standing in the company’s way: This year’s unusually hot summer has seen vegetable prices soar. As consuming lots of tasty green veggies is one of the main attractions of cooking up a pot of nabe, many consumers may think twice before they decide to cook up a healthy hot pot.

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