As I’ve shared in the past, my wife Keiko cooks a bunch of delicious dishes, many of them traditional Japanese dishes that I really enjoy. One of our favorites is Nabe, which basically means “things in a pot.” Ao when you make Nabe you pretty much are just stewing up whatever sounds delicious.
We eat Nabe a lot—even during the summer, which isn’t really traditional. In
Japan, they mostly eat Nabe in the winter, because it’s a hot dish, and the summers in Japan are super hot and humid. Imagine a Kona winds day on Oahu, but with 105-degree temperatures and 95 percent humidity—that’s Japan in the summer. But here in Hawaii it’s much more temperate, so we will eat Nabe pretty much whenever we want!
When Keiko makes her Nabe, she often starts with a soup broth, such as a pack of goma miso from Nijiya Market. Goma miso is a sesame miso soup, which is super tasty and also quite healthy. It doesn’t have any MSG or other unhealthy things in it, so it makes a nice base for our Nabe. Then Keiko adds things like soft tofu, onions, maybe some chicken or beef, or pork meatballs with gobo (burdock root) inside. We also add a ton of garlic to our Nabe, both because it’s so tasty and also because it’s a great immune booster, especially if it’s flu season or if you have a sore throat. We also like to put udon in our Nabe. And at the end, once everything else has been added and cooked, we add lettuce. A lot of traditional Japanese cooks will add Chinese cabbage instead, but we like to use lettuce because it has a nice, crisp taste.
Once it’s all cooked up, we move the hot pot to the table and enjoy! Nabe is definitely one of my favorite dishes, and it’s super easy to make, so I highly recommend that you try it out!