I gave up going to the convenience store for Lent, and therefore have been doing a lot of cooking recently. Some very patient Japanese friends have been kind enough to teach me a few traditional recipes, some of which I’ve been able to successfully recreate in my own kitchen. Here’s a bit about everyday meals in Japan. Today’s meal is nabe.
Nabe is a winter staple because it’s a hot meal that is easy to make and share. It actually takes it name from the large, shallow pot that the soup-like dish is cooked in. To make nabe, you stew your favorite vegetables in flavored broth, maybe tossing in some tofu or meat as well depending on your tastes. Because there are so many different varieties of add-ins and broths (chicken, soy milk, kimchi, etc.), nabe can be made to suit anyone’s taste. Usually people use chopsticks to pick what they want to eat out of the nabe pot. After all the vegetables and such have been eaten, rice or noodles are cooked in the leftover broth to make the meal a little more filling.
My favorite nabe includes soy milk broth, cabbage, shitake mushrooms, dancing mushrooms, carrots, leeks, grilled tofu and green onions, with udon noodles at the end. Here are pictures of two nabes I’ve eaten this winter, one with Yuko and Nik, and the other with some of the teachers from school.