The weather is so cool and wet here at the moment; all I want to have everyday is soup, stew or hotpot, Japanese style. I wonder if my family is getting tired of hotpot yet?? It’s definitely my fave-crave these days. It’s so easy to make, and I love the comforting look of clay pot or donabe sitting on the table.
Clay pots are beautiful to cook with, holding their heat for a long time to keep food warm. Mine are very simple serviceable ones I have picked up over the years from Asian grocery stores around Perth. The large glazed donabe is my favourite, it holds plenty of protein and vegetables for a family of four.
For my standard hotpot, if I’m in a hurry I don’t follow a specific recipe, just add dashi stock (from a sachet), soy sauce, mirin, sake, followed by whatever meat and vegetables I have on hand…nothing complicated! Potato, carrot, sweet potato, etc, chicken or beef, leeks or spring onions, shiitake mushrooms (usually soaked dried ones). I always add something green, usually I cook the greens (at the moment mizuna) separately and add them at the end. I don’t want their bitter taste to overpower the broth. Snow peas or snap peas are great in this too, as are a scattering of green soybeans (I keep a bag of frozen ones on hand). I usually heat some frozen udon noodles to serve with the vegetables, meat and plenty of broth in big bowls.
And of course, leftovers are great the next day, as a rustic side dish in a bento! As here, with kimchi omelette and rice with peas.
For more hotpot inspiration, please visit the just-opened-today English version of Japanese food website, Cookpad! Click here for a link to a section of CREATIVE HOTPOTS!! I’m in heaven!
Finally, thanks to my friend Hillary for the huge jar homemade lacto-fermented kimchi, it is still delicious!