Winter in NYC usually means less time spent strolling around neighborhoods in search of new food spots. Howling winds whip around every corner, giant frozen piles of trash line the sidewalks, and slushy puddles test the strength of even the toughest snow boots. So, when I recommend trudging down to the East Village for a hot pot dinner, it must be really good. Shabu Tatsu was the first place I’d ever had Shabu Shabu, the Japanese hot pot dish, in NYC, and it’s still one of my favorites.
Fun for kids and kids at heart alike, the tables come with built in burners and everyone sits around a boiling hot pot of broth or water, cooking vegetables and meat as they go. Plates of thinly sliced vegetables arrive to the table first and onions, bok choy, carrots and mushrooms go into the pot to flavor the broth. Once those have cooked for a few minutes, thin ribbons of beef arrive. Everyone takes hold of a thin slice of beef and swirls it around in the broth until cooked. Fetching vegetables and beef out of the hot pot, topping off with ponzu sauce and noodles, the meal becomes interactive and makes you almost forget about the piles of snow waiting outside.
While it’s a challenge to replicate this atmosphere at home, I love to use a slow cooker as a mock hot pot at the dinner table. If your slow cooker gets hot enough, everyone can cook their own meat at the table. If you’re weary about this, cook the meat on the stove top and transfer the whole pot to the slow cooker and let everyone serve themselves at the table. It’s the best remedy to winter blues!
- 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
- 2 scallions, sliced on the bias
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
- 1 handful baby bok choy, cleaned and ends trimmed
- 1 package enoki mushrooms, rinsed and trimmed
- 1 large carrot, sliced thin on the bias
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 lb sirloin beef, sliced very thin*
- 1 bunch udon noodles, cooked
- Heat chicken broth and 4 cups water in a medium pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Transfer to a slow cooker, if desired.
- Add scallions, both mushrooms, bok choy, and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix lemon juice and 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce to make a simple ponzu sauce. Adjust to taste, adding more soy sauce if ponzu tastes too tart, and set aside.
- Using tongs or chopsticks, cook each slice of beef in hot broth by swirling it in broth until meat is cooked, 10-15 seconds.
- Serve with hot udon noodles, broth, beef and vegetables, topped with ponzu sauce.
*Ask your butcher to thinly slice the beef. If slicing beef at home, freeze meat for 30 minutes before slicing - this will make it easier to achieve thin slices.
So many vegetables would work here - just be sure they are sliced thinly and will cook quickly, otherwise you might want to steam them first (broccoli, for ex.)
Leftover broth makes flavorful soup. Strained, it will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
[ba-column size=”one-half” last=”0″]
[ba-column size=”one-half” last=”1″]