Recipe Shabu-shabu

Shabu-shabu is a traditional Japanese hotpot dish featuring thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water or broth and served with dipping sauces. Its name mimics the swishing sound of the ingredients being stirred in the pot. Here’s a detailed guide on how to make and enjoy this delicious dish.



  • 6 cups of water or dashi (Japanese soup stock)
  • Kombu (dried kelp)


  • 500g thinly sliced beef (ribeye or sirloin is ideal, or pork for variation)

Vegetables and Tofu

  • 1 bunch of napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 block of tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1-2 cups of mushrooms (shiitake, enoki, or any preferred type)
  • 1-2 stalks of green onions, cut into lengths


  • 200g udon noodles or glass noodles

Dipping Sauces

  • Ponzu sauce (citrus-based soy sauce)
  • Sesame sauce


  • Cooked rice


  1. Broth Preparation: Start by making a simple broth. Place the kombu in a pot with water and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Slowly heat the water until just before it boils, then remove the kombu. This creates a light and flavorful broth.

  2. Prepare Ingredients: Arrange the vegetables, tofu, and noodles on separate plates. Ensure the meat is sliced very thinly; this is key for the quick cooking process.

  3. Cooking:

    • Heat the broth in a wide, shallow pot over a portable stove at the dining table.
    • Once the broth is simmering, diners can use chopsticks to swish pieces of meat and vegetables in the hot broth until cooked.
    • Generally, thin slices of meat take only a few seconds to cook, while vegetables and tofu will take a bit longer.
  4. Serving:

    • Each diner should have individual bowls of dipping sauces (ponzu and sesame) to flavor their cooked items.
    • Serve the cooked meat and vegetables with a bowl of steamed rice or noodles, if desired.


  • Slicing Meat: Freeze the meat slightly before slicing; this makes it easier to achieve thin slices.
  • Broth Flavor: For added depth, you can enhance the broth with a splash of sake or a piece of ginger.
  • Vegetable Variety: Feel free to add other vegetables like bok choy, daikon radish, or bamboo shoots.
  • Sauce Customization: Enhance your dipping sauces with grated daikon, chopped green onions, or chili oil for additional flavors.


  • Seafood Shabu-Shabu: Substitute beef with a mix of seafood such as shrimp, scallops, and fish fillets.
  • Vegan Shabu-Shabu: Use a vegetable broth and replace meat with tofu, seitan, and a wider variety of mushrooms and vegetables.
  • Spicy Shabu-Shabu: Add spicy miso paste or chili oil to the broth for a hot and spicy kick.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: Approximately 400-500 kcal (varies based on ingredients and portions)
  • Protein: 25-35g
  • Fat: 15-25g
  • Carbohydrates: 30-40g


Shabu-shabu is not just a meal but an interactive dining experience that brings people together. Its simplicity and adaptability make it suitable for various dietary preferences. By preparing your own shabu-shabu at home, you can enjoy a healthy, delicious, and customizable hotpot meal that delights both the taste buds and the senses. Experiment with different ingredients and sauces to make this dish your own, and enjoy the warm, communal nature of this beloved Japanese tradition.


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