Hot pot dish called “nabe” 鍋 (which means a “pot”) or “nabemono” 鍋物 is a family style homey dish in which a large (usually earthen) pot was placed in the middle of a table on a portable gas or electric cooker. One large pot is shared by the diners and the ingredients are cooked on the table as you eat. This type of communal pot dish is not usual in Izakaya (unless it is a small drinking party held in Izakaya) but a small individual or 2-person nabe is served in Izakaya. Types of nabe are numerous depending on the type of broth and main items you put in it. If the broth is not seasoned, it is usually eaten with a dipping sauce such as “ponzu shoyu” sauce and if the broth is seasoned with either miso or soy sauce, it is eaten as is or with some garnish. After most of the ingredients are consumed a well seasoned savory both is left in a pot. Cooked (leftover) rice or noodles can be added to the broth to make the last starch dish of the meal. It is the best dish to be had in a cold windy night.
We had our first snow of the season in the DC area few days ago and it has been rather cold which prompted me to make this spur-of-the-moment nabe dish using whatever was available. I happened to have extra kelp broth from the night I made the “warm tofu with pork miso sauce“. Also, I had stuffing for pork gyoza which I made the night before. So I used these leftovers and made this nabe dish. Instead of a large nabe, I used a small nabe pot usually used to make “nabeyaki Udon” 鍋焼きうどん- a Japanese noodle dish which is cooked and served in a individual pot. I am sure I can post that recipe in near future. The amount is perfect for my wife and I.
For broth, I used kelp broth and seasoned it with sake, mirin, and soy sauce (sorry, all eye-balled and then tasted for further adjustment, no precise amount here). When the broth was hot I used a small ice cream scoop and dropped small balls of the pork mixture for gyoza into the broth. Other ingredients I used were nappa cabbage 白菜 (cut into 2 inch wide pieces), firm tofu 豆腐, daikon 大根 (cut in 1/3 inch-thick, half moon shaped; put diakon in first while the broth is being heated), fresh Shiitake mushrooms 椎茸, and scallion 葱 (cut into 1 inch pieces). I cooked this in the kitchen rather than on the table. This was served in a small bowl with a sprinkling of Japanese 7 flavored pepper powder 七味唐辛子.
After we finished this dish, I took the nabe back to the kitchen and added cooked rice (as usual frozen one, you could defrost first), added thinly cut napa cabbage (soft green part which I reserved). I added a bit more water since the broth has reduced a bit. Cooked 10 minutes in low heat until the rice was cooked and a “porridge’ consistency was achieved. I adjusted the seasoning by adding salt or soy sauce (I used salt). I beat one egg and mixed it into the porridge. I put the lid back on and took the pot off the flame. I waited 5 minutes and then served the porridge.