Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Japanese/ Recipes/ Soup

Quick Shabu Shabu Recipe

24/06/2020 (Last Updated: 14/07/2020)

You’re just a few tasty ingredients away from this simmering Japanese hot pot. Think thinly sliced pork, udon, tofu, vegetables and delicious homemade dipping sauces. Ready to get cooking? Let’s learn how to make this 10 minute Shabu Shabu recipe at home.

Plates of shabu shabu ingredients with dipping sauces of ponzu and sesame.

Why We Love This

Aside from boiling the broth and chopping a few vegetables, there’s not much standing in your way from getting this dish to the table in 10 minutes!

Bring the hot pot party to your house for a fraction of the price of a restaurant. It’s the perfect winter warmer, and great to eat and enjoy amongst friends. Half the entertainment is ‘fishing’ for your food and getting it in your bowl.

Vegetables and pork boiling in shabu shabu broth, ready to eat.

What is Japanese Shabu Shabu? 

Shabu shabu is a hot pot recipe inspired by Chinese hot pot and started in Osaka, Japan in the 1950’s before becoming popular all over the country. The name shabu shabu (pronounced shah-boo shah-boo) is taken from the sound the ingredients make when you ‘swish swish’ them around in the broth.

This is one of our favourite dishes to both eat at home and at restaurants. It always feels so fancy, and has so much flavour for something so simple to pop together.

You’ll love that it’s a nabemono too, which means “things in one pot” in Japanese! (Nabe = cooking pot and Mono = thing)

What You’ll Need

Get ready to grab some meat and vegetables and get cooking! You’ll need some Japanese ingredients for this dish including dashi powder for the soup stock seasoning, then ponzu and goma dare (sesame sauce) for the dipping sauces. (More about these sauces below!)

We used firm tofu in our shabu shabu, as that holds its shape much better than soft tofu. Keep this in mind when you’re shopping! Otherwise, you can also use fried tofu if you prefer.

For the udon noodles, we buy ours frozen from the Asian supermarket. You can also buy them dried or vacuum sealed online. If you have a bit of time up your sleeve, you could even make them by hand.

Best meat for shabu shabu:

We usually have thinly sliced pork, beef or both with our shabu shabu. It MUST be paper thin, as this is how it cooks so quickly in the broth. We buy pre-cut frozen pork and beef slices from our local Asian grocer, that are all ready to go for hot pot cooking.

You could try searching in your area or online if anyone has pre-cut slices of hot pot meat, or if you want to try preparing at home, you can buy a frozen meat slicer.

For the dipping sauces:

We now make our own ponzu and goma dare (sesame sauce), and recommend you do too! The flavours are much better than commercial sauces, and store well in the fridge.

If you need to purchase them ready-made to save some time, we’ve bought them both before at our local supermarket in the Asian aisle, at Asian supermarkets or online.

Other optional ingredients you can add:

Ingredients laid out for shabu shabu recipe.

How to make Shabu Shabu at home:

Preparing the broth and ingredients:

Fill a medium saucepan, nabe pot or electric frypan with 4L of water and dashi powder (2 tsp) and to the boil on high heat.

Getting the dashi broth ready for shabu shabu.

While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the vegetables for cooking. First, chop up the cabbage into around 3cm x 3cm (1.5 inch) squares, then the tofu into 2cm x 2cm (1 inch) squares. Slice the carrot diagonally and the spring onion into 6cm (2.5 inch) lengths. For the enoki mushrooms, remove the roots and separate into small bunches for eating. Remove the stalks from the shiitake mushrooms. Place everything on one plate and move next to the shabu shabu pot ready for cooking.

Next, place your pork on another plate and pop that next to the vegetables. Finally with the udon, if you purchased frozen, you can place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to loosen and thaw out. Then drain and pop in a bowl, placing it alongside the meat and vegetables.

Next, we get the dipping sauces ready! You’ll need two small sauce bowls for each person at the table. Fill one with ponzu (2 tbsp) and the other with sesame sauce (2 tbsp). Place them in front of each person with a set of chopsticks (or a fork if you prefer!).

If you’re having rice with your shabu shabu, prepare a small bowl for each person and set this in front of the dipping sauces.

Now you’re ready to get your shabu shabu party started!

How to eat shabu shabu:

Once your dashi broth is boiling, reduce to a simmer and begin the shabu shabu!

Place some carrot and cabbage in first, as these will take the longest to cook (around 3 minutes). Next pop in some udon, mushrooms or tofu (these only need a minute). You don’t have to pop the whole lot in, just enough for everyone to eat some before adding more. This avoids overcooking or overcrowding your shabu shabu.

Putting enoki mushrooms into the Japanese hot pot.

Now it’s time for the meat! As shabu shabu meat is so thin, it only needs around 30 seconds to cook. Place only a few slices in at a time so they don’t overcook. Watch as it turns from pink to a light brown – then it’s ready to eat!

Placing a frozen slice of pork into the shabu shabu hot pot broth.

When taking ingredients out, use your chopsticks, or if easier, a slotted spoon. Now it’s time to dip! Traditionally, meat is dipped in the sesame sauce and vegetables in the ponzu. However, nowadays anything goes! You do you and find out what sauces you prefer to pair with each ingredient.

Dipping vegetables into the ponzu dipping sauce.

Once dipped you can either it straight away, or grab some rice with it. By the end, your rice bowl should be filled with all your flavours from the soup and ingredients, so enjoy it all together.

Most importantly, have fun!

Wandercook’s Tips

  • For the dipping sauces, traditionally ponzu is used for the vegetables and sesame sauce for the meat. Feel free to experiment with your favourite, just don’t mix the sauces as one is citrus based and the other is creamy.
  • Add only a few pieces of meat at a time, so that a) you don’t lose them in the broth and b) they don’t overcook.
  • Keep and eye on your sauces – especially for your guests. If they’re running low or getting watered down from dipping, top them up as you go for the best flavour.

FAQs

Where do you get Shabu Shabu meat?

You can usually buy shabu shabu meat frozen at Asian supermarkets. We like to get ours from a Korean supermarket in particular that does fresh and frozen cuts of pork, beef and lamb.

Other options are to ask if your local butcher can thinly slice meat for you OR invest in a manual home slicer (if you’re a hot pot lover like us!) so you can freeze and thinly slice your own meat at home.

Can I use the same chopsticks to cook and eat shabu shabu?

Yes! You don’t need separate tongs or chopsticks to use for the raw meat and vegetables. As the water is almost boiling, just dip your chopsticks (or fork) in the water for 30 seconds after handling the meat in particular.

What do I do if the broth starts to cook down too much?

You can refill the shabu shabu pot at any time with boiling water. No need to add dashi, as it’s only the water that evaporates, all the flavour stays in the pot!

Variations & Substitutes

  • While we’ve used the traditional Japanese ingredients in this version, feel free to try other vegetables or noodles to suit your tastes.
  • For a vegan & vegetarian version, use kombu dashi (seaweed stock) for the broth and omit the meat.
Chopped vegetables, dipping sauces, pork and udon all plated and ready to eat in Japanese shabu shabu broth.

Shabu Shabu has got to be one of our favourite Japanese meals to make at home (big statement we know!). If you’re ever in Osaka though and want to experience a traditional shabu shabu meal, we love Shabutei. Their set meals are phenomenal and we always get the pork and beef mix.

Need some Japanese sides to make it a full course? Add these:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Pork, udon and vegetables all cut up and ready to eat in a shabu shabu hot pot.

Quick Shabu Shabu Recipe

You're just a few tasty ingredients away from this simmering Japanese hot pot. Think thinly sliced pork, udon, tofu, vegetables and delicious homemade dipping sauces. Ready to get cooking? Let's learn how to make this 10 minute Shabu Shabu recipe at home.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 963kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tsp dashi powder
  • 200 g pork thinly sliced for hot pot
  • 250 g udon noodles frozen
  • 100 g enoki mushrooms broken into small bunches
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms stalks removed
  • ¼ cabbage chopped
  • 1 carrot diagonally sliced
  • 3 spring onion / green onion sliced into lengths of 6cm / 1.5in

Dipping Sauces

  • 4 tbsp ponzu
  • 4 tbsp goma dare (Sesame Sauce)

Instructions

Preparing the broth and ingredients:

  • Fill a medium saucepan, nabe pot or electric frypan with 4L of water and dashi powder (2 tsp) and to the boil on high heat.
  • While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the vegetables for cooking. First, chop up the cabbage into around 3cm x 3cm (1.5 inch) squares, then the tofu into 2cm x 2cm (1 inch) squares. Slice the carrot diagonally and the spring onion into 6cm (2.5 inch) lengths. For the enoki mushrooms, remove the roots and separate into small bunches for eating. Remove the stalks from the shiitake mushrooms. Place everything on one plate and move next to the shabu shabu pot ready for cooking.
  • Next, place your pork on another plate and pop that next to the vegetables. Finally with the udon, if you purchased frozen, you can place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to loosen and thaw out. Then drain and pop in a bowl, placing it alongside the meat and vegetables.
  • Next, we get the dipping sauces ready! You’ll need two small sauce bowls for each person at the table. Fill one with ponzu (2 tbsp) and the other with sesame sauce (2 tbsp). Place them in front of each person with a set of chopsticks (or a fork if you prefer!).
  • If you’re having rice with your shabu shabu, prepare a small bowl for each person and set this in front of the dipping sauces.
  • Now you’re ready to get your shabu shabu party started!

How to eat shabu shabu:

  • Once your dashi broth is boiling, reduce to a simmer and begin the shabu shabu!
  • Place some carrot and cabbage in first, as these will take the longest to cook (around 3 minutes). Next pop in some udon, mushrooms or tofu (these only need a minute). You don’t have to pop the whole lot in, just enough for everyone to eat some before adding more. This avoids overcooking or overcrowding your shabu shabu.
  • Now it’s time for the meat! As shabu shabu meat is so thin, it only needs around 30 seconds to cook. Place only a few slices in at a time so they don’t overcook. Watch as it turns from pink to a light brown – then it’s ready to eat!
  • When taking ingredients out, use your chopsticks, or if easier, a slotted spoon. Now it's time to dip! Traditionally, meat is dipped in the sesame sauce and vegetables in the ponzu. However, nowadays anything goes! You do you and find out what sauces you prefer to pair with each ingredient.
  • Once dipped you can either it straight away, or grab some rice with it. By the end, your rice bowl should be filled with all your flavours from the soup and ingredients, so enjoy it all together.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

Video

Notes

Wandercook’s Tips
  • For the dipping sauces, traditionally ponzu is used for the vegetables and sesame sauce for the meat. Feel free to experiment with your favourite, just don’t mix the sauces as one is citrus based and the other is creamy.
  • Add only a few pieces of meat at a time, so that a) you don’t lose them in the broth and b) they don’t overcook.
  • Keep and eye on your sauces – especially for your guests. If they’re running low or getting watered down from dipping, top them up as you go for the best flavour.
FAQs
  • Where do you get Shabu Shabu meat? You can usually buy shabu shabu meat frozen at Asian supermarkets. We like to get ours from a Korean supermarket in particular that does fresh and frozen cuts of pork, beef and lamb. Other options are to ask if your local butcher can thinly slice meat for you OR invest in a manual home slicer (if you’re a hot pot lover like us!) so you can freeze and thinly slice your own meat at home.
  • Can I use the same chopsticks to cook and eat shabu shabu? Yes! You don’t need separate tongs or chopsticks to use for the raw meat and vegetables. As the water is almost boiling, just dip your chopsticks (or fork) in the water for 30 seconds after handling the meat in particular.
  • What do I do if the broth starts to cook down too much? You can refill the shabu shabu pot at any time with boiling water. No need to add dashi, as it’s only the water that evaporates, all the flavour stays in the pot!
Variations & Substitutes
  • While we’ve used the traditional Japanese ingredients in this version, feel free to try other vegetables or noodles to suit your tastes.
  • For a vegan & vegetarian version, use kombu dashi (seaweed stock) for the broth and omit the meat.

Nutrition

Calories: 963kcal | Carbohydrates: 110g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 2351mg | Potassium: 1072mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 5386IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 4mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Margaret
    24/06/2020 at 10:09 pm

    Lived in japan 4 years.. the traditional shabu shabu is wagu beef, glasss noodles(bean thread), those long white tiny mushrooms, cabbage, shitakes, green onion… with those sauces… lived in China one year.. many hot pot recipes… but udon and pork are not traditional shabu shabu.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      25/06/2020 at 9:38 am

      How interesting! We’ve also lived in Japan and always had both beef and pork, and udon haha. We love how different areas and restaurants use different ingredients. We have listed beef and glass noodles under ingredients, along with enoki mushrooms (the long white tiny ones ;P) and shiitake. We love that with this style of eating, it doesn’t have to be traditional, we just want our foodies to be able to remake these dishes at home with the ingredients they have on hand. The glass noodles in particular can be a little hard to come by in some areas, so can be easier to buy udon noodles in this instance. Here’s to much more delicious shabu shabu in our lives hehe

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