Cold Shabu Shabu with Creamy Sesame Dressing

Cold Beef Shabu Shabu.


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.

Shabu Shabu Sesame DressingCold Beef Shabu-Shabu with Creamy Sesame Dressing
serves 2 to 3
page 453
Creamy Sesame Dressing:

  • 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.

Cold Beef Shabu Shabu



The Vegetables:

  • 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.shabu shabu beef
The Beef:

  • 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…

Cold Beef Shabu Shabu

To Serve:
Mound the beef in the center of a serving platter. Arrange the vegetables and papaya around the meat. Serve with individual small cups of the dipping sauce.

Cold Beef Shabu Shabu

If you enjoyed this meal, check out the pork shabu shabu I posted about earlier.

⇐ Previous Post Next Post ⇒
Garden Cauliflower Tsukemono with Citrus and Kombu

25 thoughts on “Cold Shabu Shabu with Creamy Sesame Dressing

  1. It is so beautiful. And you made Creamy Sesame Dressing!! Always i think I try to make it, when I read your blog. But I can’t it.

    You can get sliced beaf? Is it easy to get sliced beaf?
    In Japan I get it easer than beaf steaks. Because beaf staks are expemsive.
    And we eat pork.

  2. Hi Lucy!
    This sesame sauce is easy. I bought the sesame paste—did not grind it myself. Thin with dashi, flavor with mirin and shoyu. Stir by hand in 5 minutes!

    I can buy frozen thin-sliced beef and pork in the Korean grocery store a couple blocks from my house!! I am very lucky!

    If I buy beef roasts or pork roasts, they are better quality. But they are not cheap and it is a lot of work to cut them in thin slices.

    This dinner is quick to make when I buy the sesame paste and the thin-sliced beef. You can use all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

    If you like to use pork I think this recipe would be delicious too. But I also did this recipe with pork and a different sauce:

  3. I love your site! And your Japanese Cookbook project!

    I am looking for a recipe for creamy sesame sauce that has the consistency of a thick, cream dip – not runny like a vinaigrette.

    This “sesame sauce” is quite often served in Japanese or sushi restaurants as a “steak sauce”.

    What consistency does your recipe end up with?

    Thanks and keep it coming!

  4. Desiree,
    Thank you ever so much for your nice comment.

    This sauce was creamy, and much thicker than a vinegrette—maybe like a “ranch dressing” which is thinner than sour cream. In this dish, you dip the steak slices and vegetables into the sauce so it must be thin enough to swish the food around in it and thick enough to stick to the food. You could add less dashi and it would be thick enough to pour over steak without flooding your plate. It’s like magic that the sauce starts to look creamy as soon as you add the dashi! So when it’s the texture you like, stop adding dashi.

    To “guild the lily” with other flavors, though these simple flavors were excellent:
    This a sesame sauce that is thicker than this recipe:
    and gives you some additional flavoring ideas: tea and toban jiang.

    Or ginger flavor:

  5. Hi Tess,

    I recently discovered your site and am having a great time reading your blog and the recipes you try out. The pics are great (especially the ones of the ingredients).
    For the sesame paste, do you think I can substitute with tahini? Do you mind telling me what brand of sesame paste you bought. Is it from the asian/japanese grocery store? Thanks.

  6. Hi Wakkun and welcome!

    Oh, so sorry it has taken me so long to answer your question…
    You can really substitute tahini in this recipe.

    I keep forgetting to look at the brand of sesame paste I buy if we don’t have sesame paste from our local food co-op. Usually we have the co-op sesame tahini on hand, but they don’t have convenient parking so sometimes I buy it at my usual grocery store, in the “ethnic cooking” aisle. The brand starts with a “zy” I think. I think any tahini you like would work just fine.

    The Japanese sesame paste I can find here in Michigan is VERY expensive so I would not use that for this recipe.

  7. Tess,
    Thanks for your answer! I will try to make the sauce and beef in the near future and report back. Just need to take the time to go get the thinly sliced beef from the asian market. I am too lazy to try to slice it myself!

  8. The thinly sliced meats at the Korean grocery are so convenient, and they do a much better job of slicing than my knife skills allow!

  9. Yes, that is the soy sauce I like! They also make one with a green label (I think green?) which is made with non GM soybeans.

    The dashi, I’m not so sure: the picture says “Pork Broth” but the box next to it looks like one I have used: it should have as the main ingredient katsubushi which is a dried sort of tuna, not pork. And not msg! At least not as a main ingredient. You can make a vegetarian dashi with kombu and dried shiitake water.

    The sesame paste should be fine: just make sure it is not sweetened. Some of the Chinese brands I find here have added sugar. Also, you don’t want the dark roasted sesame paste: it’s flavor will be too strong. This is supposed to be quite light so the flavors of the meat and vegetables is emphasized, not the dipping sauce itself.

  10. Alright thanks! the Sesame Paste I got was made in Japan and on the back it says that it’s used for dressings, dipping and shabu shabu sauce .. it’s the light colored one =)

    sorry for all the questions but, is the soya sauce you use the red or green label one
    heres a picture of the stuff does it look right? I just didn’t include the sesame paste picture .. couldn’t find it on the net =P

    • I can’t usually find the non Genetically Modified bottles of shoyu, but to me they both taste the same so it shouldn’t matter. The other things in your link look just like the ones I use too. As for a step by step, did you click on the picture to see a larger version? That is how the sesame paste changes when you add the dashi: gets lighter and milkier, then you add the soy sauce. You can see the darker swirl of it at the bottom. Just mix it a little more so it blends in completely.

  11. Thank you for your help! I always eat shabu shabu at a Japanese resturaunt and I always buy their shabu sauce for them ..8 dollars for a tub .. I hope this is similar to it! haha

    Oh I was wondering you had a page on here that I came across that had information about Dashi .. I’m not able to find it again could you possible link it

  12. I’m going to try the home made dashi !!
    this box stuff that I have doesn’t tell me how to make it -_-
    1tsp 1 cup water? haha..*smacks self *

    • I don’t have any right now, but the kind I buy comes with little paper packets/tubes inside the box that you put into the water, but now I can’t remember how much water per packet. 2 cups? 3 cups?
      Good memory me: good and short…


      oy! I surely hope you like this sauce. Let me know either way, ok?

  13. I will let u know for sure thx! Is the hon dashi package stuff (the one in the picture) okay for the sauce? Or should I use a different kind

  14. The box looks like one I have used (except for the other picture that says “pork”) I’d say go for it: I’d just start with a little powder in the water, taste, add more, taste, until you like it.

    I found the empty pack of my favorite one in my pantry and it looks like this:

    But the one you have looks very familiar too. As you can see from that picture I was mis-remembering that it was a box rather than a packet.

    If you don’t like the way it tastes, then just make some of the vegetarian dashi with kombu and dried shiitake: that is quite easy and flavorful.

    • Hi Christina—

      Got too busy for the interne yesterdayt!!
      I think you could just use a bowl with a fork and wooden spoon to mash the sesame paste with the dashi.

      The ridges in the suribachi just help to squish the thick sesame paste into thin layers which makes it easier to dissolve into the dashi.

  15. Hi ! okay thanks! Wow seems like it takes alot of work .. Lol I thought it would be easy since the dashi is just the soup ( liquid )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s