Learn how to make restaurant-style and the best Japanese shabu shabu hot pot at home. This shabu recipe is easy with the step-by-step picture guide, complete with ingredient suggestions.

Shabu shabu.

Shabu shabu.

Shabu

What is shabu shabu?

It’s a type of Japanese hot pot with thinly sliced meat (mostly beef) and assorted vegetables.

The words shabu shabu meaning “swish swish,” which describes the light swishing sound of the meat in the simmering broth.

Sometimes, seafood such as crab legs can be added to the ingredients.

Shabu shabu recipe with beef, vegetables, mushrooms and carrots.

Shabu shabu recipe with beef, vegetables, mushrooms and carrots.

Shabu Shabu Recipe

Originated from China, Japanese shabu shabu is slightly different with the ingredients used, sauces and condiments.

Beef is the most common meat but pork is sometimes used. The meat is always thinly sliced.

As a result, fatty and marbled beef such as wagyu (Japanese beef) or American wagyu is the best, for example: Kobe beef or Miyazaki beef.

Wagyu beef.

Wagyu beef.

Shabu is an easy and fun way to eat a variety of ingredients, all cooked in the rolling boil hot soup.

Shabu shabu pot.

Shabu shabu pot.

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Shabu shabu hot pot.

Shabu shabu hot pot.

How to Make Shabu Shabu?

It’s very easy to make this delicacy at home. Most of the work is preparation of the soup, sauces and ingredients.

Shabu shabu meat with shabu shabu sauce.

Shabu shabu meat with shabu shabu sauce.

First, prepare the broth. Traditionally, the broth is made of water, kombu seaweed and Japanese cooking sake.

However, in many shabu shabu restaurants, only water is used. I prefer the soup base because it adds so much flavors.

Next, prepare and cut the ingredients such as napa cabbage, carrot, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, tofu and scallions (or Tokyo negi).

For beef, you can buy the sliced beef from Japanese stores, which usually comes in a tray.

Ponzu sauce and sesame sauce are two favorite dipping sauces for shabu. Both are available in bottles at Japanese stores or Asian stores.

The final step is to place all the ingredients on the dining table, with the hot pot set on top of a portable butane burner in the middle.

Japanese shabu shabu with sesame sauce.

Japanese shabu shabu with sesame sauce.

Cooking and Eating Tips

For results that rival the best restaurants, please follow my tips below:

  • Please make sure that the broth comes to a boil before you start cooking.
  • Pick up a slice of beef with your chopsticks and quickly dip the beef into the hot boiling broth. You might dip or swish it quickly for about 2-3 times.
  • DO NOT overcook the beef. The beef should be soft, tender and just cooked through.
  • Dip the beef into the Ponzu or sesame sauce and enjoy immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shabu Healthy?

Yes, this is one of the healthiest ways to eat a wholesome meal.

It’s not greasy and comes with a variety of vegetables.

What is the Best Cut of Beef for Shabu?

Rib steaks, top sirloin and sirloin tip are the best cuts for Shabu Shabu.

Japanese A5 Wagyu will be the ultimate best, but USDA Prime will be equally delightful.

Fatty cuts of USDA Choice that has adequate marbling will also be great.

Avoid USDA select beef because it has the least fat.

Check out USDA for the difference.

How Do I Slice the Beef?

If you don’t have a Japanese grocery store where you are, you can still enjoy the dish by slicing the beef very thin with a sharp knife.

Freeze the beef in the freezer. Remove from the freezer and leave it out at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Use a pair of very sharp chef knife and slice the beef thinly while it’s still hard and frozen.

Lay out the thin-sliced beef on a serving platter.

How Many Calories Per Serving?

This recipe is only 556 calories per serving.

What to Serve with this Shabu Recipe?

Serve this dish with steamed rice or ramen noodles. For a healthy Japanese meal, I recommend the following recipes.

Yield: 4 People

Shabu shabu

Learn how to make restaurant-style and the best Japanese shabu shabu hot pot at home. This shabu recipe is easy with the step-by-step picture guide

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 5 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thinly sliced beef
  • 1 lb king crab legs, cut into small sections
  • 8 oz Napa cabbage, cut into pieces
  • 2 oz enoki mushrooms
  • 2 oz shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 stalk scallion, cut into strips
  • 2 oz baby carrots

SOUP

  • 1.5 liter water
  • 4-inch piece kombu seaweed
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese cooking sake

DIPPING SAUCES

  • Bottled sesame dipping sauce
  • Ponzu
  • CONDIMENTS
  • Bottled Shichimi Togarashi
  • Scallion, cut into small rings

Instructions

  1. Place the meat and crab on two separate plates.
  2. Assemble the Napa cabbage, enoki mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, scallion and baby carrots in another plate.
  3. Combine the Soup ingredients in a Shabu pot.
  4. Prepare the dipping sauces in two small dipping bowls. Place the condiments on small dishes.
  5. Heat the pot on a countertop burner. When the Soup comes to a rolling boil, add the Napa cabbage, mushrooms, crab legs and other ingredients in the boiling soup.
  6. Quickly blanch and cook the meat using a pair of chopsticks.

  7. Remove the meat immediately and dip it in your favorite sauce and enjoy with condiments according to taste.
  8. Scoop out the other ingredients in the pot and enjoy. You may skim scum off the soup in the pot as needed. 

Notes

You may eat Shabu Shabu with steamed rice or add ramen to the soup. 

Adapted from Recipes of the World’s Most Popular Japanese Dishes Mayuko Matsumura.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1
Amount Per Serving Calories 556Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 160mgSodium 2663mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 2gSugar 11gProtein 56g

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