Mizutaki is a kind of hot pot dish (called Nabemono or simply Nabe) in which fish or other kinds of meat and vegetables are cooked in unseasoned fish broth and dipped in tangy Ponzu sauce. It is cooked in a ceramic pot called Donabe, right at the dinner table using a portable gas stove and we eat it as we cook. It is somewhat similar to Sukiyaki. But Mizutaki is an even more perfect food for cold weather.
Mizutaki is popular during winter in Japan. Not only is it nice and hot food, but seasonal ingredients of fish and vegetables in Mizutaki are very flavorful. Even though we can buy any vegetables all year around today, the main vegetable for Mizutaki, such as Nappa cabbage, Kikuna, and Shiitake mushrooms are in season in winter. They are best eaten right then. Fish is the same thing, and we usually use seasonal white fish like cod for Mizutaki. However, if you prefer, you can also add other kinds of meat such as chicken or sliced pork. We also use thinly sliced beef for another hot pot dish called “Shabu Shabu.”
There might be some ingredients you are not be familiar with:
Naganegi onions Long onions that are mostly white and thicker than green onions, but thinner than leaks.
Kikuna leaves Edible chrysanthemum greens which have a distinct herbal flavor.
Enoki mushrooms Long and thin white mushrooms that have a mild flavor. They are often used for different hot pot dishes in Japan.
If some of the ingredients are not available to you, you could substitute with any vegetables you like such as button mushrooms and onions.
We of course eat Mizutaki at home for dinner, but you can find it at many restaurants, too. In December, people in Japan have a lot of end of the year parties held by companies or friends. After work, they go to restaurants and have Mizutaki and a lot of drinks together, and by the time they go home they don’t feel cold anymore. December is definitely the season for Nabe and heavy drinking there (ahhh…good times).
After eating all the ingredients in Mizutaki, we make Zosui, risotto like thing using the flavorful left over broth seasoned with soy sauce and sake with rice, and that’s the end of the meal. Yes, that’s the same broth people double dipped (many more than double) their chopsticks in as we ate. Don’t worry, hot broth kills all the germs (…so I hope).
Anyway :-), have some Mizutaki, get warm and enjoy the winter season.
- 4-5 cups Dashi
- 4 white fish filets (cut into 2"-3")
- 4 chicken thighs (cut into 4 pieces)
- 8 shrimps
- 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
- 8 shiitake mushrooms
- 1 package enoki mushrooms
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup citrus juice (such as lemon or Yuzu)
- For Ponzu sauce, mix all the ingredients.
- Boil Dashi 2/3 of a pot and keep medium heat.
- Add fish and chicken, then all the vegetables and cook about 10-15 munutes. Add shrimp 3-4 minutes before eating.
- Serve with Ponzu sauce.