Shabu shabu is one of Japan's most popular dishes and is a glorified fondue. It consists of paper-thin slices of raw beef and raw vegetables, cooked by each diner at the table in a pot of hot broth. The name comes from the sound that is made as the meat is swished through the broth: 'swish swish'.
? 2 cups (1 pint) cold water
? 3 ounces (85 grams) dried 'kombu' seaweed*
? 1 cup dried bonito flakes, optional*
? 8 ounces (225 grams) sirloin beef, sliced thinly
? 4 ounces (115 grams) shiitake mushrooms
? 4 ounces (115 grams) enoki mushrooms, stalks removed
? 4 ounces (115 grams) tofu, cut into chunks
? 1 bunch watercress, trimmed
? Cooked sticky white rice or brown if you prefer
? 1 jar ponzu-joyu dipping sauce*
*Available at Asian grocery shops
Put the water in a pan and add the dried seaweed. Simmer over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Pull out the kombu when the water starts to boil. To enhance the flavour you can add some dried bonito flakes 5 minutes before taking the kombu out. It is important not to let the water and kombu boil. Strain the broth, discarding the kombu and bonito flakes.
Place the beef between 2 sheets of cling film and bash with the back of a knife until it is very thin. Slice the beef into thin strips and place on a serving plate.
Bring the broth to the boil. Add the shiitake mushrooms, followed by the enoki mushrooms, then the tofu and finally the watercress. Serve this pan of boiling broth at the table immediately and get your guests to cook their beef by dipping it in the broth with chopsticks.
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