Tori-nabe: Chicken Hot Pot


Sharing a large pot of chicken and vegetables cooked in broth at the table is entertaining, fun, and soul-warming.

—Hiroko Shimbo

And so it’s true. You might ask why I’d make a hot pot meal for only me! Good question. I’ve not been cooking much since Mr. Tess and Miss Tralita flew off after the holidays—that tuna hot pot made for a fine and fun meal—and one evening I even ate a bag of chocolates a friend gave me for Christmas for dinner. I don’t even like chocolate all that much, and it left me hungry for real food again. This meal may be best enjoyed with company, but it’s satisfying and warm. And being a soup of sorts, it’s good for a second and third meal.


Tori-NabeI used all chicken thighs, and cut the bones from them because I planned to eat some of this at lunch (at work, bones don’t work). I did simmer the bones with the broth to add their flavor. I thought what I thawed from the freezer was ground chicken, but it turned out to be pork. This is a nice way to make meatballs: forming them with spoons and dropping immediately into the simmering broth. The ratio of meat to egg makes these too “wet” to make ahead of time, but they hold up well in the hot liquid.


Hearty Chicken Hot Pot
serves 4
page 427

  • Tori-Nabe2 boned chicken breast halves
  • 2 chicken thighs, with bones
    • I used all thighs, removed the bones, but cooked them in the broth
  • 7 ounces ground chicken
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons minced scallions, both green and white parts
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 block firm tofu, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 naga-negi long onions, or young, tender leeks, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
    • I used portabello mushrooms
  • 1 bunch chrysanthemum leaves, or spinach; leaves cut into halves
  • 1 four-inch square kombu
    • I also added 3 small dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 Tablespoons usukuchu shoyu (light-colored soy sauce), or regular shoyu
  • 2 Tablespoons sake (rice wine)
  • 2 yuzu citrons, or lemons cut into wedges
    • I only had limes!
  • Shichimi togarashi (seven-spice powder)
  • 4 cups plain cooked rice in a ceramic bowl

With a cleaver, hack the breast halves and thighs into 2-inch pieces. Transfer these pieces to a platter.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, 1 1/2 teaspoons shoyu, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Mix with your hands until the mixture is sticky. Add the scallions, and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl. Press the center to make a shoallow depression, and drop one wole egg into the center, without breaking the yolk.
Cut each half of the tofu block into eight crosswise slices. Arrange the tofu and all the vegetables side by side on a large platter.
In a donabe or enameled iron pot, combine 1 quart water, the kombu, ususkuchu shoyu, 1/4 cup sugar, and the sake.
Just before serving time, set a tabletop gas stove in the center of the dining table. On the table, arrange two soup spoons, a soup ladle, the vegetable platter, the chicken plate, the bowl of ground chicken, the bowl of cooked rice, two eggs in a small bowl, and a jar of cold water. In the kitchen, heat the broth over medium heat to a light boil. Light the tabletop stove, and place the hot pot on the stove. Call diners to the table.
Cooking and eating:
Remove the kombu; discard. Add some of the chicken pieces to the pot. With a spoon, break the egg yolk on top of the ground chicken, and blend the egg into the meat. Scoop a little of the ground chicken and with a soup spoon break the egg yolk on top of the ground chicken, and blend the egg into the meat. Scoop alittle of the ground chicken with a soup spoon, and, with the other soup spoon, shape the ground chicken into a baoo and push it into the broth. Add several more balls. Add small portions of the tofu, long onions, and shiitake, and heat until the ingredients are almost cooked through. Add a portions of the chrysanthemum leaves.
When all the ingredients are done, each diner picks some up with chopsticks, transfers the foods to his bowl, ladles a little broth, and a squeeze of lemon and some seven-spice powder. Enoy!
Cook in batches, adding water as needed to the pot.
When only the cooking broth is left in the pot, add the cooked rice. It should be barely coverd with broth; add extra water, if needed. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook the rice for 2 to 3 minutes.
In the small cup, break the remaining two eggs, and beat them lightly with chopsticks. Add the eggs to the pot and cook, covered,for 2 minutes. Eat the rice with ceramic or ordinary spoons.

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2 thoughts on “Tori-nabe: Chicken Hot Pot

  1. OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! I broke the forum! Matt’s going to kill me. Quick I need a suitcase and my passport. Tell my family I love them and will miss them but it’s better this way.

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