Thursday night dinners at my friend Ellen’s house are alive and well. I just haven’t had time to write about any of them! So this post is going to be about a dinner we had in January.
Ellen loves shabu-shabu, the Japanese version of hot pot, which basically involves cooking thinly sliced vegetables and meat in a bubbling pot of broth right at your table. Then you dip the cooked meats and vegetables in ponzu or sesame sauce and eat everything with rice.
When all the meat and veggies are cooked, Ellen likes to throw in some noodles in the end. I’ve personally never understood how she still has room to eat this, but the broth is super flavorful and makes for extra good noodles.
Shabu-shabu is a Thursday night staple and is particularly good during winter (although with Seattle’s temperate climate you can eat it all year long). We were all set to do it when Ellen got the call that her pregnant sister was going into labor.
Lynn stepped in and said she would host the dinner, which was great. There was just one problem. None of us had done shabu-shabu without Ellen. We are a resourceful group of ladies though and decided to press on.
Lynn and I went to Uwajimaya to buy thinly sliced beef, green onions, Napa cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, enokitake mushrooms and tofu.
Gathering the vegetables was easy enough, but buying the meat was a little more challenging. How much thinly sliced beef to buy for five people? We consulted with the butcher and wound up getting four packages of meat since the Thursday night group is a bunch of hearty eaters.
Both Lynn and I had almost a nervous breakdown in Uwajimaya’s noodle aisle. As you might imagine, the Asian grocery store had hundreds of varieties of noodles, and we couldn’t find the ones that Ellen had put on her list. We talked to several Uwajimaya employees, but we still couldn’t figure it out so we decided to forego the noodles.
At Lynn’s house, we got everything ready to go into the pot.
And then we got to cooking. I think the strongest appeal of shabu-shabu is that it’s pretty hard to mess it up.
Mahnaz suggested that we put some of the meat directly on the heat source for the shabu-shabu pot to essentially grill it. This is something Ellen never does, but we tried it, and it was delicious.