If there’s one thing Japanese look forward most during winter, it is their very own Japanese hot pot dishes. As a matter of fact, it is almost a necessity in every Japanese household during the cold months of winter. Hot pot is a common dish in Asia, not just in Japan, but also in China and Korea. And like most of its neighboring countries, Japan has lots of different types of hot pot dishes, and almost every year they come up with something new.
However, according to Japanese food historians, hot pot dishes can be categorized to three things on its broth – light flavor, rich flavor, and boiled in water.
Boiled in Water Hot Pot
As its name suggest, boiled hot pot is about using boiling water to get the flavors of the ingredients. Also known as Japanese soup stock, this Japanese hot pot is served in individual serving bowls with a separate sauce for you to dip.
Chiri-nabe and Mizutaki are two good examples of this hot pot dish. Chiri-nabe is a hot pot dish composed of fish, water, tofu and vegetables, with ponzu sauce ( a mixture of citrus juice and soy sauce) as a dip.
Mizutaki hot pot is almost the same, except that it uses chicken as protein, instead of fish.
Light Flavor Hotpot
Japanese hot pot dishes such as Oden and Yose-nabe are examples of light flavor hot pot. The main ingredients are cooked in lightly flavored broth. Most hot pot dishes in Japan belong to this category.
Oden is easily the more popular dish; you can find it in convenience stores all over the country from autumn to winter. It comes with lots of toppings, and sauce is served in sachets for extra flavor. You can choose a sauce from karashi (Japanese mustard), miso, etc. As its name suggest, the soup itself is already flavored lightly.
Rich Flavor Hot Pot
Rich flavor hot pot of course, as its name suggest, is a richly flavored soup dish, one good example of the Sukiyaki, which is a beef and/or pork and vegetable hotpot. It is served alongside with ponzu (sesame seed-based sauce). Sukiyaki is different from the light flavor hot pot, as all ingredients are cooked in a sweet and salty soy sauce, bringing out the full flavor of every ingredient to make an amazing broth.
Most Popular Japanese Hot Pot Dishes
January last year, Asahi Holdings conducted a survey to determine the most popular hot pot dishes in Japan. There were lots of dishes that made to list, but the most popular is the kimchi-nabe. In this hot pot dish, all ingredients are cooked slowly, bringing all the flavor of every ingredient out to the broth. It is a simple dish, but easily one of tastiest hot pot dishes out there. It is also very easy to prepare, and you can use almost any vegetable and meat for ingredients, mix them all up and of course, add kimchi for some kick of spice. It’s a perfect match for alcohol as well.