Nabe means cooking pot and mono (things, stuff) is a popular Japanese hot pot dish commonly served in the cold winter months. It is cooked table side and served communally. One thing that is great about nabemono is its versatility (in addition to its deliciousness). There are so many different ingredients you can choose from! all through the cooking procedure, the broth becomes more appetizing. At the end, after all the ingredients are eaten, rice and egg are added to the seasoned broth and a porridge is made.
Nabemono is cooked in a lidded clay pot called a donabe. The donabe is filled with a broth made from dashi, soy sauce, and sake. It is placed on a portable electric or gas burner on the dining table. Plates of ingredients such as seafood, sliced meat, vegetables, and noodles are laid out. Ingredients are added to the pot and cooked table side. Once cooked, each guest removes ingredients and broth from the pot and places them in a small bowl and eats from that bowl. While everyone is eating, more ingredients are added to the donabe and cooked. By the time the first bowl is eaten, the next bowl is ready to eat. Do not put too much in the pot all at once. Nabe are often accompanied with ponzu in a bowl on the side to dip the ingredients in.
There are different types of nabemono, depending on the ingredients used. Stews featuring oysters, scallops, cod, salmon, turtle, and chicken are all popular. The variety known as chanko-nabe (containing chicken, seafood, potatoes, and other vegetables) makes up the staple diet of Japan’s sumo wrestlers, and specialty chanko-nabe restaurants can be found in the neighborhoods where sumo stables are gathered. One more assortment of nabemono is the well-known beef sukiyaki.
Since nabe dishes are cooked hastily, the ingredients keep hold of their individual flavor and identity. The nabemono, then, presents a succession of different tastes and textures as the various vegetables and morsels of seafood are pulled out of the pot and eaten. As the meal progresses, the cooking liquid absorb more and more flavors (especially from the fish or meat). At the very end, rice or noodles may be added to the pot, soaking up the intense flavors of the remaining liquid and making a filling finale to the meal.