Saturday, December 27, 2008


My grandparents lived in Japan for a year (or two?) working in a school there. One of the things we gained from that experience was the festive dish of Skiyaki. I found this recipe a year ago. It is similar to skiyaki in that it is a communal meal--a hot pot in the center of the table to cook the food in. However, the cooking sauce is water and seaweed based instead of soy sauce based which reduces the salt considerably! I also like how this recipe uses more ingredients that may be found in Japanese cuisine instead of our very, very Americanized version.

All the work of this meal takes place in cutting the food for eating and making the dipping sauce. When it's time to eat, new ingredients as the old ingredients get eaten right out of the pot! It's a fun, festive, healthy meal. This time of the year, a lot of the ingredients can be found at the farmer's market. We used our leftover vegetables the next evening (mushrooms and leeks) on top of a pizza. We sat the kids at the end of the table, farthest away from the hot pot to prevent them from burning themselves. They both loved it. M especially liked the shrimp.

Dipping Sauce
1/2 c fresh lime juice
2/3 c tamari soy sauce
1 T sake (or mirin)
1/2 c daikon, finely grated
2 t ginger root, peeled and finely grated
1/2 c chopped scallions

Liquid for hot pot
3 c water
8 -inch piece of dried konbu

Ingredients for cooking in hot pot
2 medium bok choy, cuting 2 inch pieces
4 bunches scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 leeks, well rinsed, tender white parts cut into rings 1/4" wide
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound spinach, washed and stemmed (we omitted and just used more bok choy)
1 cake tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2" cubes (I may or may not use next time....)
1 pound scallops
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

4 - 6 servings of cooked rice

Slice and prepare vegetables, putting each a separate bowl. Prepare tofu and seafood, putting each in separate bowl. Refrigerate until everything is ready to cook.

For the dipping sauce, combine the lime juice, soy sauce, and sake in a saucepan and heat on low heat. In each of four individual bowls (or however many people that are eating--this will comfortably feed 4 - 6 adults), put 1 T grated daikon, 1/4 t of grated ginger root, and 1 T chopped scallions. To each bowl add 3 T of soy sauce mixture. Some extra dipping suace and garnishes will be left to freshen each bowl during the meal.

In a large shallow pan on a hot plate (or I've found a large electric skillet works great!) in the center of the table, heat the water and konbu until it begins to boil. Let it boil slowly for 2 minutes. Remove the konbu. During the meal, heat more water in the microwave to boiling and add to the skillet as needed. (The electric skillet should be set to around 250 degrees).

Once everyone is seated, beging cooking, adding the scallops and shrimp first, then the leeks and tofu, then the bok choy and mushrooms, then the scallions, and finally, just when everything is ready to eat, add the spinach.

To eat, remove desired ingredients from hot pot, dip into dipping sauce and put on top of rice (in a small bowl for each guest). Keep adding and removing ingredients as long as everyone is still hungry.

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