Yosenabe is a Japanese hot pot dish made with dashi, vegetables, tofu, seafood, and noodles in a nabe, which is a Japanese pot. When the pot is made out of clay, it’s referred to as Donabe, when the pot is made out of cast iron, it’s referred to Tetsunabe (Tetsu = Iron, as in Tetsuo, the Iron Man). There are other types of Nabe dishes in Japanese cooking, but the Yosenabe is one of the most popular and ubiquitous ones. The dish is very easy to make, but time consuming in the preparation of the various type of ingredients in the Nabe. There is no set list of what ingredients you should put in a yosenabe, which makes the dish is very adaptable to your own taste.

I have a Korean Clay pot that I use for Soondubu, which can double as a Donabe. If you don’t have a clay pot, you can substitute a regular pot.

The soup base for my yosenabe is dashi, a broth made out of kombu (dried kelp) and shaved bonito (dried, smoked, fermented skipjack tuna). The kelp is soaked in water in a stockpot for 30 minutes, then brought to a boil. I added a couple of dried shiitake mushrooms to my broth as well. If you don’t have access to fresh shiitake mushrooms, you can substitute the hydrated dried shiitake mushrooms.

As soon as the water boils, the seaweed is removed and the bonito shavings are stirred in. Once the water reboils (which will be very quickly), the heat is turned down, and the broth is simmered for about 5 minutes.

The stockpot is removed from heat, and the stock allowed to steep for 15 minutes. The liquid is then passed through a sieve, taking care not to press on the bonito flakes as it will make the broth cloudy. The dashi should be a golden, clear color. It is set aside until ready to be used. If you do not have access to bonito or kelp, or don’t have the time to make the dashi, you can buy dashi bouillons at Asian supermarkets.

For the ingredients in my nabe, I picked cellophane noodles (soaked for 15 minutes in water, then drained), napa cabbage, tofu, carrots, scallions, and for the seafood, I used scallops, manila clams, shrimp, red snapper. I was going to use chicken thighs in the nabe, but last minute I decided to make a different dish with it.

To assemble the donabe, the cabbage is layered on the bottom layer.

Then topped with the cellophane noodles, the tofu, and the shiitake mushrooms.

The rest of the vegetables and the seafood are layered on top of the tofu and the mushrooms in a neat fashion. Mirin and light soy sauce are added to the dashi, and the broth is poured on top of the ingredients.

The donabe is slowly brought to a boil. If you are using clams, you want to make sure they all open before the broth is done.

My finished yosenabe looks a mess, becuase I was poking around, trying to make sure all the clams were open, but it still tasted delicious!!! Even though it’s a hot soupy dish, the fish, tofu, and veggies make it a very light and healthy dish that can be enjoyed year round.

Yosenabe Recipe: http://rasamalaysia.com/nabe-yosenabe-japanese-hotpot/