Winter is near/here and you’re already running behind if you haven’t pulled out your nabe pot.

A favorite winter food to cook up at the kotatsu and keep you warm, nabe is both simple and versatile. Simply stock up on your favorite meat and vegetables, stir together some yummy stock, and you’re all set to dive under the kotatsu and stay there til winter’s end.


Good for sharing with friends and family, nabe (Japanese hot pot) also makes for fun and interactive eating as you throw things into a pot, watch it cook, and eat as you go. Once you have a few stock options in your cooking arsenal, the variations and flavor possibilities are endless.



Prepare all your ingredients beforehand by cutting vegetables and meat and arranging them nicely on a plate. Also, be sure to defrost and precook your udon by bringing the noodles to a boil and soaking them in an icewater bath to stop the cooking. Once this is set, all you need is your stock, and you can sit back, relax, and eat!


#1 Sesame Stock


6 Cups Water

4 Chicken or Beef Bouillon Cubes

2 tsp Salt

4 Tbsp Ground Sesame Seeds

1 Tbsp Grated Garlic

1 ½ Tbsp Grated Ginger

2 Tbsp Sesame Oil




  1. Mix together all the ingredients except for the ground sesame seeds in a nabe pot and bring to a boil.


  1. Add the nabe ingredients and cook til desired and top with the ground sesame before eating.


By Adaenn via Flickr

#2 Kimchi Chige Stock (spicing things up Korean style)


1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

2 cloves minced Garlic

1 tsp minced Ginger

1 ½ cup loosely packed Kimchi cut into bite-size pieces

1 Tbsp Korean chili paste (gochujang)

1 Tbsp Sake (or cooking wine)

1 Tbsp Miso

1 Tbsp Dashi

1 tsp Soy Sauce

1 tsp Korean Red Chili Pepper Flakes (gochugaru) (optional)

½ cup juice from Kimchi (squeezed from the kimchi)

2 cups Water




  1. Heat up your nabe pot and drizzle in the sesame oil. Once hot, add in the minced garlic and ginger and stir for about 30 seconds.


  1. Toss in the kimchi and stir fry it for about 2 minutes.


  1. Add the sake, miso, dashi, soy sauce, and pepper flakes and stir well to combine.


  1. Finally, add the water and kimchi juice and bring to a boil.


  1. Use this stock to cook your nabe ingredients and enjoy.



By Hirotomot via Flickr
By Hirotomot via Flickr

#3 Sukiyaki Sauce/Stock




1 cup Sake

1 cup Mirin

1 cup Soy Sauce

¼ cup Sugar

Dashi or Water


If you want to precook your meat (optional):


1 Tbsp your favorite Cooking oil (vegetable, sesame, olive)

1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1 lb (450 g) Sukiyaki Beef




  1. Bring the sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar to a boil in a small pan. Set aside.


  1. Heat up your nabe pot and drizzle in the cooking oil. Mix the sukiyaki beef, brown sugar, and a bit of the sukiyaki sauce and sear it in the pot until caramelized. *At this point, if you’re going Osaka style, you can eat some of the beef before beginning the nabe fun.


  1. Pour â…“ cup dashi or water and 1 cup of the sukiyaki sauce into your nabe pot along with the meat and add in your favorite nabe ingredients. Cook and eat, refilling your nabe pot with dashi or water and sukiyaki sauce as needed.


In Japan, since eggs are safe to consume raw, sukiyaki is traditionally dipped in raw egg before consuming. If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a try! ;)


For another take on Sukiyaki, check out the December 2011 edition of Kicchiri Kitchen here:


For Chicken Nabe, check out Cherie’s recipe:


On a final note, once you’ve finished eating your nabe, you can save the leftover stock infused with all that nabe goodness and use it to make Zōsui 雑炊 by adding pre-cooked rice and boiling it to a porridge-like consistency. This is especially good to eat when you have a cold.


Stay Warm & Be Well,