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Today we’re making Vegan Japanese Hot Pot, or Nabemono. It is a simple and easy dish to make! It’s very customizable, nourishing and perfect for chilly evenings. It can be enjoyed solo, or with friends and family as sort of a social meal. Often, hot pot is served atop a portable/tabletop burner in the center of a table so that it stays warm and can be added to throughout the meal. The beauty of hot pot is that the base recipe is fairly straightforward, and everyone enjoying is able to then add their own seasonings. The broth is often very mild, and you enjoy by serving into your own bowl with your seasoning of choice.
While a traditional Japanese Hot Pot often involves some kind of beef or meat, it’s very easy to make vegan by simply swapping it for tofu. Again, what goes into the hot pot is completely your decision, so it’s very easy to make both vegan and gluten free. This is my take on a classic Japanese hot pot but made with vegan ingredients and a gluten free stock base. Traditional hot pot usually involves dashi made from fish, and standard soy sauce, which contains gluten.
One of the best things about making a vegan nabemono is that you don’t have to worry about skimming the hot pot. When cooking with animal proteins, the boiling usually results in fat that bubbles and forms around the edges of the pot. You would usually need to skim the fat while enjoying the hot pot, but when using just plants, you don’t have to worry about it at all!
This cozy Vegan Japanese Hot Pot is vegan, gluten free and nut free. Depending on the ingredients used, you can make it paleo and grain free as well. As a bonus, the hands on preparation time is very minimal!
So what’s in a Vegan Japanese Hot Pot?
I’ve based my hot pot ingredients on a more traditional hot pot, however I’ll also include additional ingredients that are used often.
Soup base/dashi → Instead of a fish based dashi, we’ll be using kombu, or seaweed to provide depth of flavour. You can also find a Japanese vegetable soup stock to use.
Napa cabbage → Present in most hot pots, napa cabbage becomes so buttery soft in a hot pot and really delicious. You can find napa cabbage at any Asian grocery store.
Asian leek → These are larger than scallions but smaller than conventional leeks. We use the white base part of the leek, which contributes a lot to the stock flavour as it cooks.
Carrots → They add a bit of sweetness to the hot pot and can be cut into fun shapes. Traditionally, they are cut into flower shapes for presentation.
Konnyaku → This ingredient is hard to describe, but it’s a cake made from yam flour. It has a springy, almost squeaky texture and no real flavour of its own, however it absorbs sauces and seasonings quite well. My grandma taught me that it’s known to assist digestion, and it’s really a unique texture!
Mushrooms → The most common mushrooms include shiitake, enoji and shimeji mushrooms, but you can use any or all of them. I love to use a mix of at least 2-3 types of mushrooms.
Tofu → A great plant protein to add to hot pot, and commonly present even in non-vegan hot pots. You can use silken or firm, but I prefer firm as it holds its shape much better.
To serve, you may choose to dip into sesame sauce, ponzu, sesame oil, chili oil, togarashi, soymilk etc. Other delicious add-ins include mochi, beansprouts, yuba, noodles, daikon etc.
How to make a Vegan Japanese Hot Pot
Slice and prepare all of your hot pot ingredients.
Prepare your soup base using dashi or a dashi broth.
Add ingredients into your nabe and pour broth over.
Bring to a boil and enjoy. You can continue to add to your hot pot as you eat.
Secrets to success!
Make it hearty → If you’d really like to take your Vegan Japanese Hot Pot to the next level, you might consider adding some vegan seafood substitutes like vegan shrimp, or even fishcake if you’re able to find it. All of the ingredients you add to the pot will add flavour to the base stock, but don’t be afraid to season the base soup itself too!
Boost the nutrition → Add a plant protein, serve with some starch like rice or noodles and load up on the veg to make this a balanced meal.
Equipment modifications → You can make this in just about any pot, and you can skip the tabletop burner by just preparing this stovetop. The stovetop set-up is ideal for entertaining, however not a necessary investment to make a delicious meal. You can find most of the equipment and ingredients at Japanese or Asian grocery stores, or online.
If you try this recipe out, tag me on Instagram@veggiekins so I can see your delicious re-creations and feature them! As always, I love when you share your reviews in the comments below, and if you make any fun substitutions, let me know how it worked out below too.
Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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