Spring in Seattle is such a fickle season- one second it invites you to fire up the barbecue, the next you’re ready to snuggle up in your favorite sweater. Here’s a recipe for the rainy days. Hot pot or nabe is a Japanese style soup that is shared by many people. A large simmering pot is usually put in the center of the table and family and friends are invited to dish up from it into their own bowls as they enjoy its nourishment together. This version celebrates the mushrooms of the northwest and is a wonderful way to enjoy the emerging bounty. When we make this at home, we place an electric hot plate on the table and use it to keep the contents warm in a Le Creuset. If this isn’t an option for you, cook on your stove top and dish up into bowls when ready. This recipe serves 4 people. Note: all these ingredients are available at your local Asian market. In Seattle, I always shop at Uwajimaya in the International District.
1/2 cup mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1/2 cup sake
1/3 cup Organic soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups dashi or vegetable stock
1 small head Napa cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound organic firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
4 ounces/1 package oyster or maitake mushrooms, trimmed and pulled apart
3.5 ounces/1 package shimeji mushrooms, trimmed and pulled apart
7 ounces/1 package enoki mushrooms, trimmed and pulled apart
3 stalks green garlic or green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 pound broccoli raab, spinach, or watercress
Optional: udon noodles or white rice, cooked and available to put into individual bowls.
- In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine mirin, sake, soy sauce, sugar, and dashi.
- In a large Le Creuset or soup pot arrange all mushrooms and vegetables, making it easy for diners to choose what they would like to dish into their individual bowls.
- Pour liquid ingredients into pot, cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Transfer pot to the hot plate (set to low heat) or dining table, uncover, and enjoy with family and friends. Serve with white rice or udon noodles.