Shabu Shabu

Shabu Shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ) is a Japanese hot-pot meal where very thin slices of beef are momentarily (few seconds) cooked in hot broth. It is the savoury cousin of the sweeter sukiyaki. The meat is relatively raw when it is eaten, so if you want to spurge on a meal, this recipe is a great excuse to treat yourself to some premium cut of meat (such as wagyu).

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If you ever walk into an authentic Shabu Shabu restaurant, don’t be mad if they give you a bland-tasting dashi broth or even plain water as the soup base – for there lies the simplicity and deliciousness of Shabu Shabu. The soup is meant to be enjoyed last, after it sweetened naturally from cooking all the beef and vegetables. Japanese typically add cooked rice to the remaining broth, seasoned with a bit of soy sauce and pouring a beaten egg over the rice. Personally, I added a spoonful of miso to the soup right at the end. This is a wholesome, simple and healthy dish where you sauver the natural goodness of fresh ingredients.

Shabu Shabu Recipe

P.S. I haven’t posted a new recipe in two months! In the blogging world, that’s a very long time. I wasn’t taking a break from Noob Cook but in fact working harder on it, having engaged an awesome designer to revamp the site. I hope you will like the new site as much as I do, and find it speedier and better organised than before. I basically spent the last two months converting the content (more than 400+ recipes and articles) to the new, print-friendly format. It was painstakingly tedious. I’m very relieved now that the beta site is finally launched. Although there are still some older recipes left to convert, I can resume posting new recipes again. During this hectic period, meals that are very simple, comforting and practical, such as this Shabu-shabu is my lifesaver.

Dipping Sauces for Shabu Shabu

There are typically two sauces that accompany Shabu Shabu. One is roasted sesame sauce (known as “goma”; pictured above, left) while the other is a citrus-based soy sauce (ponzu shoyu) with grated radish and chopped scallions.

Shabu Shabu Recipe

Feel free to adapt the vegetables listed in (A) with your favourite seasonal ingredients.


  • 200 thinly sliced beef (shabu shabu cut)

Soup base (dashi stock)

  • hot water
  • a piece of konbu (kelp) roughly 5cm by 8 cm

(A) Vegetables

  • 150 grams firm tofu cut to square pieces
  • a few leaves napa cabbage cut to bite-sized pieces
  • a handful Japanese shingiku (chrysanthemum greens; substitute with local ‘tang oh’)
  • 100 grams enoki mushrooms ends trimmed
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms stalks removed; make a 6-star pattern on each mushroom cap
  • 1 packet (200 grams) ito konyaku blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, submerge cooked noodles in an ice water bath for a few minutes; drained
  • 5 grams black fungus soaked in hot water for a few minutes; discard tough portion on the fungus underside, drain and cut to smaller pieces
  • 1 Japanese scallion (negi) sliced thinly and diagonally
  • 8 thinly sliced carrots cut to flowers

(B) Ponzo Sauce Dipping

  • 2 tbsp grated daikon (white radish)
  • 2 tbsp chopped spring onions
  • 3 tbsp ponzo sauce

(C) Sesame Sauce Dipping

  • 4 tbsp roasted sesame sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp seasoned sushi vinegar
  • 1 tsp mirin


  1. Prepare vegetables in (A) and arrange in a platter. Prepare dipping sauces (B) and (C); divide into two portions.
  2. To make the soup base for shabu shabu, soak kelp in a soup pot of hot water for 15 minutes or until it is reconstituted. Bring the pot to a simmer and turn off the heat. Discard kelp.
  3. Enjoy shabu shabu by dipping beef slices briefly (seconds!) in the bubbling soup base and cooking the vegetables.

Noob Cook Tip

After you cooked all the meat and vegetables, add a bowl of cooked rice to the remaining broth, season with a bit of soy sauce and pour a beaten egg over the rice.

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