How-to Nabe

Nabemono (nabe = cooking pot & mono = things, stuffs, kinds) or simply called Nabe is a typical winter dish here in Japan. The cooking pot is usually placed in the center of the dining table on a portable stove, and the food cooked at the table and eaten by multiple people. The diners can pick the cooked ingredients they want from the pot and further ingredients can also be successively added to the pot.
But I don’t have a portable stove and I don’t have a group of people in my house waiting to be fed after a day at work. Still, I wanted to have some Nabe and for weeks I’ve been looking at the packages for sale in the supermarket that looked suspiciously like some kind of Nabe to me. So last weekend I dragged Yasu to his local supermarket to point at one of those packages and get an explanation. He confirmed my suspicion, it was Nabe. And even better it was Nabe for one person: ideal! And the label even came with a how-to-Nabe plan in Japanese (which my personal translator deciphered for me).
So tonight after work I had Nabe! And this is how I did it:
  1. Buy a Nabe-for-1 package at the supermarket, preferably one that’s on sale like this one:

  2. Get rid of the cellophane wrapping:

  3. Distribute the contents of the package on the top of your fridge, because you have no kitchen countertop:

  4. Separate the bag with the iffy-looking liquid from the rest of the stuff that came out of the Nabe-for-1 package:

  5. Empty the liquid into the silver bowl without spilling:

  6. Carefully but fully lit the one burner you have in your tiny kitchen and make sure you don’t burn your thumb again:

  7. Wait for the yellow stuff to boil and don’t get freaked out by the weird sounds the silver bowl makes:

  8. Turn down the heat under the silver bowl once boiling has been achieved and brown spots have started to form on the silver bowl:

  9. Add the cabbage to the hot yellow soup because Yasu told you they need to be in there the longest:

  10. After a minute, get impatient and add the meatballs and meat strips because you think they need to be in there the longest:

  11. Quickly get really impatient and dump all of the ingredients (except the noodles) into the bowl, because you just can’t be bothered with for a long time for your food to be ready:

  12. When you’re getting hungry take out all of the vegetables and meat with some chopsticks and put them in a bowl, and hope they are cooked enough to not make you sick:

  13. Put the noodles in the hot yellow soup in the end, because Yasu told you that if you put them in the liquid too long they will cook until they disappear :O… Also add the chicken meatballs again because the idea of not fully cooked chicken is just plain gross:

  14. Make sure your noodles don’t magically disappear and empty the silver bowl into your eating bowl at the first sign of vanishing noodles (which probably means they’re about done):

  15. Turn off the heat and eat your Nabe before it gets cold.


4 thoughts on “How-to Nabe

  1. Ja hoor het was lekker, alleen als je het op deze manier doet lijkt het net of je gewoon udon noodles met groenten aan het eten bent ofzo. Als je Nabe doet zoals het hoort, met een groep om de pot op tafel (zoals bijvoorbeeld fondue) is het gezelliger en lekkerder omdat je veel meer verschillende dingen te proeven krijgt en de gezelligheid maakt het ook lekkerder toch?


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