Chanko Nabe is a very popular style of hot pot dish in Japan. A lot of vegetables and meat can be cooked in seasoned broth at the same time at the dinner table as you eat. It is an easy and great hot dish in winter time.
Chanko Nabe is a well known food for Sumo wrestlers in Japan. If Japanese people are asked what Sumo wrestlers eat, probably almost all will answer “Chanko.” And that is not a myth, Sumo wrestlers do actually eat Chanko Nabe often. A lot of retired wrestlers open Chanko Nabe specialty restaurants. That doesn’t mean that you get fat if you eat Chanko Nabe. Like other hot pot dishes such as Mizutaki, it is very healthy to eat, with plenty of vegetables and protein. Sumo wrestlers do eat a lot and because you can cook a large amount at once, Chanko Nabe is an easy way to feed a hungry group quickly.
There is no oil in cooking in the hot pot, but ingredients are cooked in the broth. In Chanko, the broth is seasoned with Soy Sauce, Sake and Mirin, so there is no need for a dipping sauce. You could use any vegetables you like, but the usual ones are of course Napa Cabbage, Naganegi (long white onion), and mushrooms. The only thing almost all Chanko recipes call for is chicken meat balls. That may be because ground chicken gives good and deep Umami (savory flavor) to the broth. We also added thinly sliced pork, but you may opt for fish such as cod.
After all the ingredients are eaten leaving a great flavored broth, it may seem like a waste to throw that soup away, and that’s how Japanese people think. If you have room to eat some more to finish this meal, add rice to the soup and make Zosui risotto. Even though you are full, somehow you can easily eat Zosui. But be careful and don’t eat too much of it if you’re not planning to be Sumo wrestlers. Then again, it’s ok, eat as much as you want since you don’t eat this everyday.
It is a perfect dinner for cold months. Make this easy and tasty dinner tonight.
- 5 cups Dashi
- 4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 4 Tbsp Sake
- 4 Tbsp Mirin
- 1 tsp salt
- Harusame (bean thread)
- 1/2 lb (230g) ground chicken
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2/3 lb (300g) thinly sliced pork
- 1/2 Nappa cabbage, cut 2" width
- 2 Naganegi, long onions, cut diagonally
- 1 bunch Kikuna, cut 2" long
- 1 package tofu, cut 1" width
- 1 package Shimeji mushrooms
- 1 package enoki mushrooms
- 1 carrot, sliced and cut out with flower shaped cookie cutter
- 4 cups Dashi from Chanko Nabe
- 2-3 cups cooked rice
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- green onions, chopped
- Boil Dashi, Soy Sauce, Sake, Mirin and 1 tsp salt together, and keep warm.
- Rehydrate Harusame by soaking in boiling water for a couple of minutes, and strain.
- In a medium bowl, add ground chicken, 1/2 tsp salt, chopped green onion, and grated ginger. Mix very well.
- Start adding table spoon sized balls of ground chicken mixture to the soup. Add pork and vegetables and cook about 10-15 minutes. Add Harusame a couple of minutes before eating.
- To make Zosui, remove all the ingredients from the soup leaving only the broth (add more Dashi or water to make 4 cups if needed). Add rice and cook until slightly thickened. Add lightly beaten eggs and chopped green onions and stir. Cook for a minute and serve.