Raw rib eye beef sliced thin and dipped into a rich simmering broth, then dipped into a sweetsour-salty sauce—that ’s the essence of Japanese hot pot, aka shabu-shabu, the world’s finest way to enjoy a good steak and savory soup at the same time. As for who does it best, that award must go to chef Michael Mina, who owns 32 restaurants worldwide and has such a penchant for hot pot that he has served it for decades everywhere from his Las Vegas steakhouse, Stripsteak, to his flagship restaurant, Michael Mina, in downtown San Francisco.
According to Raj Dixit, one of Mina’s executive chefs, the trick is to splurge on good beef—look for USDA Prime or even Wagyu. Slice it paper-thin, and don’t overcook it. The broth may sound exotic, but all the ingredients are easily found at Asian markets, Whole Foods, or on Amazon. And it’s worth mastering for the simple reason that it’s an all-purpose Japanese dashi, or broth—ultra-versatile and packed with umami—that can be used as a base for ramen or miso soup. Dixit calls for specific vegetables in the recipe below, but anything good and fresh will do.
As for serving, invite a crowd and give them the following instructions: “Roll up raw vegetables in a slice of the raw beef—then it’s ready to be dipped in the broth and sauce,” Dixit says. “Pop the whole thing in your mouth, and grab another.”
MEAT AND VEGETABLES
· 1 lb rib eye steak, sliced thin
· 10 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced in half
· 5 radishes, sliced thin
· 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin
· 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
· 8 snow peas, cut in half lengthwise
· 1 bunch asparagus, peeled and cut into
· 1-inch lengths
· Handful mung bean sprouts (optional)
· Handful fresh pea tendrils or arugula
· 4 shiso or basil leaves
· 12 cups water
· 3 six-inch pieces of kombu (dried seaweed)
· 3 cups bonito flakes
· 4 cups broth (see above)
· ¼ cup miso
· ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
· ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
· ¼ cup soy sauce
· ¼ cup sake
· ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
· ½ cup white sesame seeds
1. Make the broth: Put the water and kombu in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a bare simmer and immediately remove kombu. Add bonito flakes, increase heat to bring to a boil, and immediately pour through a strainer into a bowl, reserving all liquid. Discard kombu and bonito flakes.
2. Make the dipping sauce: Combine all ingredients.
3. To finish and serve the dish, you have two options:
Option A: If you have a portable butane burner or camp stove that can sit safely in the middle of your dinner table, light that burner and place the remaining eight cups of broth in a pot on top. Set the meat and vegetables nearby and give each guest a small bowl with 1 cup dipping sauce. Once the broth is simmering, pick up slices of beef and vegetables with chopsticks, drop into the broth just long enough to cook (one minute tops), and then remove and dip in the sauce.
Option B: If you don’t have a portable burner, get the broth simmering on the stovetop, add the shiitakes, carrots, radishes, snow peas, and asparagus. Let them simmer 5 minutes, or until tender. Then add all the steak at once. Once the broth returns to a simmer, cook slightly longer. Toss in the rest of the vegetables and bring it to the table. Tell everyone to help themselves.