Whip up this easy homemade shabu shabu for your family and friends, and enjoy this delectable Japanese hot pot as a group. This recipe mixes easy-to-find ingredients like red swiss chard and Japanese favorites like clamshell mushrooms and kombu broth. Fortunately, all you need to do is chop a few veggies and prepare some ingredients to get started!
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What Is Shabu Shabu?
Shabu shabu is a beloved Japanese hot pot-style dish. The name comes from the ‘swish switch’ noise the chopsticks make when someone stirs the bowl’s veggies, noodles, and meat. The original recipe came from Osaka, a city in Western Japan, in the 1950s.
When To Eat Shabu Shabu
You may have seen viral videos of Asian hot pots where families sit together and cook the veggies and meat in the boiling hot broth while seated at the table. This unique dining style is becoming more popular with western diners.
Many people compare the experience of sharing a cheese fondue with your family.
This communal dish promotes conversation and allows the cook to take some respite. The preparations for this dish are minimal, and the food can cook as you chat.
Shabu shabu is fantastic for a warming winter dish to share with friends and family during the holidays. However, you can switch up the veggies to opt for something seasonal to enjoy at any point throughout the year. I personally eat this at least once a week because it’s that good!
Meat Options For Shabu Shabu
This easy homemade shabu shabu recipe uses ribeye steak as the meat option. However, you may wish to experiment with pork strips.
The key with shabu shabu meat is to use wafer-thin slices, so they cook in the broth in seconds. You can use fresh or frozen stripes from your local Japanese supermarket, thinly slice the meat yourself manually, or use a handy frozen meat slicing machine.
You may consider other protein options like chicken, salmon, shrimp, fish cake, and tofu.
Only attempt to cook one or two pieces of meat at once. Otherwise, you risk potentially overcooking it and losing sight of your meat.
However, don’t be too disheartened if you lose a piece of meat or veggie in the broth, as this is half the fun of the communal ‘cook as you eat’ experience!
Other Ingredients For Shabu Shabu
- Dashi broth (made with kombu and water)
- Sweet potato glass noodles (gluten-free) or udon noodles
- Napa cabbage
- Chrysanthemum leaves (or substitute with red swiss chard)
- Mushrooms (recommended: enoki, shiitake, and clamshell)
- Green onions
- Tofu (firm tofu will hold its shape, whereas soft tofu will soak up more of the broth and dipping sauce flavor. You could even try frying your tofu before serving!)
- Rice (best served in individual portion bowls for each person, alongside their dipping sauces)
What Is Shabu Shabu Broth Made Of?
To make the traditional Japanese dashi broth for your shabu shabu, all you need to do is soak your piece of kombu in the water for half an hour on high heat. You can use this time to prepare your other ingredients and set the table for your family or guests, or enjoy a glass of Japanese sake!
Shabu Shabu Dipping Sauce Ideas
My top choices for dipping sauces include sesame sauce mixed with spring onions (green onions) and ponzu sauce (a tangier, citrusy sauce that tastes like a tart, highly-flavored soy sauce) or a spicy, garlicky Sambal Oelek chili paste with salt and vinegar.
How To Eat Shabu Shabu
Once you have set the table with your dashi broth bubbling away on a light simmer, you and your guests can start enjoying the shabu shabu! Although, in my personal experience, there is no “right” way to eat shabu shabu. But if you’re looking for guidance, you can try it in these steps:
- Add the carrots and cabbage, as these tend to need close to three minutes in the pan to begin the cooking process.
- Then you can add softer veggies, which will cook in just one to two minutes.
- Add a small handful of the ingredients to start with and see what your guest chooses to take. Cooking in small batches is preferable, so you can avoid overcooking anything and enjoy everything hot from the pan.
- Next, ask your guests to use their chopsticks to place the meat into the broth and cook it for approximately 30 seconds (remind them to hold the meat while it cooks). When the meat is slightly brown, it is ready to enjoy.
- Towards the end, add your noodles and cook them in the broth.
- Most importantly, allow everyone to cook, get involved, and eat as they please!
Add your veggies, tofu, mushrooms, and meat straight to your rice bowl when you remove it from the broth. The rice will absorb the flavor from the broth and the other ingredients so that you can enjoy the ultra-flavorful soupy rice throughout your meal – Yum!
Homemade Shabu Shabu Recipe
- 1 piece of kombu
- 1 package of tofu (cubed; any firmness is okay)
- 8 leaves of napa cabbage
- 2 leaves of red swiss chard
- 1 bunch of clamshell mushrooms
- 4 whole baby Bella mushrooms
- 2 carrots (peeled and sliced)
- 2 green onions
- 1 pound of ribeye steak (thinly sliced)
- 1 package of sweet potato noodles
- serve with rice
Cookware and Tools
Easy Homemade Shabu Shabu (Step-by-Step)
Step 1. Prepare the Dashi Broth
Fill the donabe pot (or any large pot) with water 2/3 of the way. Add the kombu and let it soak in the water for at least 30 minutes, then remove the kombu and set it aside.
Step 2. Prepare the Shabu Shabu Ingredients
You can use any vegetables you’d like, but here is what I selected this week to prepare!
- Clamshell mushrooms (cleaned and sectioned into bunches)
- Carrots (peeled and sliced)
- Baby bok choy (washed and cut down the middle)
- Red swiss chard (cut into 2-inch pieces; remove the stem)
- Baby Bella mushrooms (wiped clean)
- The white parts of the green onion
Cut the napa cabbage leaves into 2-inch slices, then cut those pieces in half.
Thinly slice the ribeye steak and cut the tofu into cubes.
Place the sweet potato noodles on a plate. No need to precook since it will cook in the broth itself!
Prepare the rice and as an extra (optional) step, add a little bit of rice seasoning.
Step 3. Prepare the Dipping Sauces
To prepare the ponzu sauce, add a dash of sesame oil to the ponzu and sliced green onions on top. I also like to accompany my shabu-shabu with sambal oelek for some heat!
Step 4. Cook the Shabu Shabu
All you need to do is let it boil! Literally, that’s it. Then, add your veggies and protein, dip them into your sauces, and eat with rice.
Towards the end of your meal, cook the sweet potato noodles for about 6 minutes. Then, ladle the broth into the ponzu to dilate the sauce, and enjoy!
What do I need to hold the meat and veggies in the broth?
You can use chopsticks to place the ingredients into the broth, including the thin slices of meat. You may wish to have a slotted spoon for larger handfuls of food that need removal before they overcook.
What do I do when the broth is looking low?
The broth may reduce throughout the dinner. However, all you need to do is top up the large pot with hot water and give it a quick mix. The flavor from the broth won’t evaporate with the water, so you don’t need to add more kombu.
Is this homemade Shabu Shabu recipe vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free?
The main ingredient in the broth is kombu, which is an edible sea vegetable (kelp). Therefore, you can edit this recipe to be vegan and gluten-free by omitting the meat and offering more tofu and vegetables to bulk up the meal.
Do I need a particular cooker to serve the broth?
I use a donabe pot on a portable induction stove to warm the broth. You can use a dutch oven if you don’t have a donabe pot to hand. However, I highly recommend investing in one if you enjoy shabu-shabu meals, as they add to the authenticity of the meal.
Get Your Shabu Shabu Party Started
The next time you’re in the mood for a cozy hot pot meal, you’ll be ready to make this easy homemade shabu shabu just like your favorite restaurant!
This recipe is simple and even if you have never made shabu shabu before, you should be able to do it easily and impress your guests with this communal-style dining setup.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and star rating below! I’d love to hear from you.
Easy Homemade Shabu Shabu
- 1 piece kombu
- 1 block tofu (cubed; any firmness is okay!)
- 8 leaves napa cabbage (sliced)
- 2 leaves swiss chard
- 1 bunch clamshell mushrooms
- 4 whole baby bella mushrooms
- 2 carrots (peeled and sliced)
- 1 pound ribeye steak (thinly sliced)
- 1 package sweet potato noodles
- serve with rice
- ponzu with a dash of sesame oil and chopped green onions
- sambal oelek
- Fill the donabe pot (or any large pot) with water 2/3 of the way. Add the kombu and let it soak in the water for at least 30 minutes, then remove the kombu and set it aside.
- You can use any vegetables you’d like, but here is what I selected this week to prepare!– Clamshell mushrooms (cleaned and sectioned into bunches)– Carrots (peeled and sliced)Baby bok choy (washed and cut down the middle)– Red swiss chard (cut into 2-inch pieces; remove the stem)– Baby Bella mushrooms (wiped clean)– The white parts of the green onion
- Cut the napa cabbage leaves into 2-inch slices, then cut those pieces in half. Thinly slice the ribeye steak and cut the tofu into cubes. Place the sweet potato noodles on a plate. No need to precook since it will cook in the broth itself! Prepare the rice and as an extra (optional) step, add a little bit of rice seasoning.
- To prepare the ponzu sauce, add a dash of sesame oil to the ponzu and sliced green onions on top. I also like to accompany my shabu-shabu with sambal oelek for some heat!
- All you need to do is let it boil! Literally, that’s it. Then, add your veggies and protein, dip them into your sauces, and eat with rice. Towards the end of your meal, cook the sweet potato noodles for about 6 minutes. Then, ladle the broth into the ponzu to dilate the sauce, and enjoy!