This is a beautiful summer meal. Shabu Shabu is a Japanese dish in which very thin slices of meat are cooked in simmering water at the dinner table by the diners. In winter it’s comforting to sit near a pot of boiling water, warming the hand holding your chopsticks to swish and cook your food. Not so fun when it’s hot and humid.
This hot-weather version of shabu shabu is cooked in the kitchen ahead of time and served cold with a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables and a creamy sesame dipping sauce.
- 4 Tablespoons sesame paste
- 6 1/2 Tablespoons dashi
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons mirin
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons shoyu (taste, and adjust if necessary)
Put the sesame paste into a suribachi. Little by little, grind or stir in the dashi. This step is fun to watch as the sesame paste turns paler and thinner as soon as the liquid hits it. Add the mirin, then the soy sauce. Taste, and if you like, add more soy sauce—it was fine for me without additional.
- 1 red bell pepper or 2 small sweet Italian peppers
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 naganegi (Japanese green onion), a young leek, or a small bunch of scallions
- 12 thin asparagus spears
- 1 papaya
•• Peel the peppers. My new method is one I learned on the CooksTalk forum: wash, remove stems, cut into quarters, remove seeds, then place them skin-side up on a foil-lined cookie sheet. I used my little toaster oven, set on toast to roast the peppers—through several “toast” cycles. Or you can put them into an oven broiler for a few minutes. The skin blisters and blackens in places. Let them cool, then pull off the skins. Cut the peppers into strips.
•• Cut the negi or leek into strips about 3 inches long. If you are using green onions, cut the white and pale green parts into 2 to 3 inch lengths, then slice them into “brushes” by cutting lengthwise, but leave the strips uncut on one end. Soak in cold water for 20 to 30 minutes.
•• Cook the asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute. Cool in ice water. Dry. Cut crosswise into 3 inch lengths.
•• Pit, peel, and cut the papaya into 3 inch sticks.
- 1 pound well marbled thin-sliced beef sirloin
I bought this frozen at the Korean grocery to save myself time cutting it thin. It’s not particularly well marbled, but was okay.
Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil. Have ready, a bowl of ice-water and a colander lined with a cotton cloth. Use chopsticks or tongs to pick up one slice of beef. Plunge it into the boiling water and swish it for about 10 seconds: it turns pinkish white. Pull it out and drop it into ice water to stop the cooking—do not overcook or it will be tough! Transfer to the colander. Cook another piece. and so on…
If you enjoyed this meal, check out the pork shabu shabu I posted about earlier.
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