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The Ultimate Girls-Night-In Dinner Idea

Japanese-Style Chicken Hotpot

“Chanko nabe”
 
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This dish is prepared at the table by guests – it adds a fun activity to the evening, but also lets guests pick and choose what they like and don’t like to eat, which makes it pain-free for the chef!
 
Ingredients
(for 4 people – for more people, simply increase the vegetables and meat)
 
Broth:
  • Chicken broth – 1 L
  • Sake – 1 Tbsp
  • Mirin (sweet cooking wine) – 1 Tbsp
  • Grated ginger – 1 tsp – 1 Tbsp (to your preference)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

Chicken Meatballs:
  • 500g Ground chicken
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1-2 tsp grated ginger (to taste)
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper (each, white pepper if you have it)
  • 2 tsp sake
  • ½ tsp sesame oil (optional)

Other fillings – Choose any combination of the following vegetables:
  • ½ nappa cabbage
  • 1 carrot – shaved into ribbons or cut into thin slices
  • 1 bunch enoki or shimeji (beech) mushrooms
  • 3 – 4 shiitake mushrooms, cut in half or quarters
  • 2 “Tokyo onions” or 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 bunch mizuna greens
  •  ½ - 1 cube of medium firm tofu
 
Prep:
  1. Wash, trim, and cut vegetables, and arrange on a platter for your guests. *Tip: When cutting the veggies, consider the aesthetics and also how easy it will be for your guests to eat with chopsticks.
  2. Mix the meatball ingredients together and form meatballs just smaller than a golf ball. Arrange them on a separate platter.
  3. Mix the broth ingredients together in a hotpot clay pot. If you don’t have one, a large, shallow saucepan will do.
 
Serving/Cooking Instructions:
  1. Set the table with the hotpot in the middle of the table on a portable electric hob. Make sure each guest is within arm’s reach of the hotpot.
  2. Bring the broth to the boil.
  3. Allow your guests to drop in whatever ingredients they like – meatballs, veg, tofu, etc.
  4. When ingredients are cooked, guests use chopsticks and small ladles (or spoons) to serve themselves vegetables, meatballs, and soup into small individual bowls. (Miso soup sized bowls are best for this.)