This quick and easy Buta Nabe (Pork Miso Hot Pot) can be put together in 30 minutes. Cooking is done at the table. Very warm and comforting on a cold day.
The temperature dipped down to the 20’s this past weekend and snow came sooner than expected. We were out shopping at the mall when the white flakes started to fall. Hastily, we made our final purchases and scrambled home. Come Sunday morning, there were three inches of white pristine snow on the ground. We woke up to the sound of the snow plows scrapping the streets in the neighborhood.
With snow falling outside, we craved for something warm, soupy, and comforting for dinner. Not in the mood to do a whole lot of cooking, I decided on this Buta Nabe (Pork Miso Hot Pot) using the pre-sliced pork I had in the refrigerator. All I needed to do was to cook a pot of rice and cut up some vegetables, tofu, and konnyaku. I made a quick and simple broth using instant dashi and miso and dinner was set at the table in under 30 minutes.
I always like to have a package or two of thinly sliced pork in the freezer. It is so convenient on a pinch. Just thaw and use them. In this case, I just have to transfer them onto a plate. Garland chrysanthemum, also known as shungiku (in Japanese) or tang ho (in Fujianese) has an almost herbal flavor. It is a favorite in Chinese and Japanese hot pots.
You can’t go wrong with Napa cabbage. It is another favorite in hot pots as it can withstand cooking for a period of time. Adds sweetness to the broth.
Tofu and green onions are two staples in many Chinese and Japanese kitchens. Tofu is delicious in hot pots because it absorbs the flavor from the broth. Green onions add color and fragrance.
Konnyaku (yam cake) has very little to no taste and a slight oceanic scent. Firmer than gelatin it is valued more for its texture than flavor. It is typically found in dishes such as Oden (in cubes) and Sukiyaki (in the form of shirataki noodles). Comes in white or mottled brown grey with addition of seaweed (hijiki) powder.
For use in this Buta Nabe (Pork Miso Hot Pot), you can simply cut the block of konnyaku cross-wise into ¼ inch thick slices and leave them as is. I like to cut a slit down the center leaving both ends intact and then push the top of the strip through the slit to create a decorative tie. It looks really pretty that way.
Prepackaged boiled lotus roots in brine can be purchased at most Asian grocery stores. They are the crunchy kind of lotus root and can be used in hot pots or stir fries. This kind of lotus root has very little flavor and goes well with miso flavor. Of course carrots provide a lovely dash of color.
- 1 lb (450g) thinly sliced pork
- 1 cube (14oz/400g) tofu, drained and sliced into 1in x ½in x ½in pieces
- 1 block (8.8oz/250g) konnyaku, sliced cross-wise into ¼in thick slices
- 4 oz (110g) boiled lotus root (renkon)
- 1 small carrot, thinly sliced into rounds
- 4 napa cabbage leaves, sliced
- 4 oz (110g) garland chrysanthemum (shungiku/tangho), rinsed and drained
- 4 green onions, cliced into 2-inch lengths
- 6 cups (1.4 liters) water
- 1½ tsp instant dashi
- ½ cup (130g) miso
- Goma dare (sesame sauce)
- Pour water into an electric fondue pot. Bring it to a boil. Add dashi. Combine 1½ cups (360ml) stock and miso in a bowl. Whisk to dissolve miso. Pour mixture back into fondue pot.
- Bring broth to a gentle boil. Add small portions of pork, tofu, renkon, and carrots into broth and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add vegetables and continue to cook for another minute. Dish into individual serving bowls with slotted spoon or small wire strainer. Dip cooked food into sauces and enjoy.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎