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What is Shabu Shabu

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In the 20th century a new dish was introduced to Japan. The hot pot dish shabu shabu made its appearance and has since then been enjoyed in Asian countries every since. Similar to another Japanese dish called Sukiyaki, shabu shabu is growing more popular around the Western world. Cities that have a large Asian population or authentic Korean and Japanese restaurants in town will all have this delicious and healthy dish on the menu. It gained even more popularity in the movie, Lost in Translation starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray while they dined at a shabu shabu restaurant.

Shabu shabu is a traditionally a beef dish served with vegetables and sometimes ponzu sauce (citrus sauce) or raw egg. The dish is prepared by taking a fondue like pot filled with boiling water then taking thinly sliced pieces of beef and swishing the meat back and forth into the pot until the is browned. How brown is up to the diner. The word “shabu” means swish, so therefore the name is referring to the sound the made water when the meat is being stroked back and forth.

There are a few different ways to prepare the dish. Some people like to add seaweed, kelp or moo to add flavor to the water. While this dish started as a beef dish, recipes have used pork, lobster, duck, crab or chicken. For enhanced flavor some recipes may call for wagy, a Japanese beef. The vegetables served depend on the cook, but can include Chinese cabbage, nori, mushrooms, carrots and chrysanthemum leaves and watercress. Various types of noodles can also be served with dish. It’s not uncommon for rice to be served as well, because many will use the broth as a soup after the meat and vegetables are eaten.

Shabu Shabu is wonderful social meal. Much like a fondue, diners will prepare each individual piece before it is eaten. The fact this meal is so simple to make, yet so full in flavor makes it a hit around the world. Online you can find several recipes using different ingredients for the meat, broth, dipping sauces and vegetables. Ingredients shouldn’t be too hard to find as a lot towns and cities have at least a small Asian district to where one can get supplies. Even major groceries will carry some Asian products.

Anyone looking to bring a quick, delicious Japanese meal into their home to share with friends and loved ones should definitely give shabu shabu a try.


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