Japanese cuisine -- nabemono (quick-cooked stews)

	Nabemono dishes are a hearty wintertime specialty, prepared from fish, seafood,
chicken, meat and/or vegetables in a bubbling cauldron right at your table. Serving trays
piled high with raw ingredients arrive at the table, then everyone pitches in with the
cooking, finally eating together out of the communal pot. Nabemono restaurants are
very down-to-earth places, usually with a rustic decor reflecting nabemono's origins in
Japan's rural farming regions.  Nabemono are also served in pub-style izakaya
restaurants, in places specializing in regional cuisines, and in private homes. There are
many different types  of nabemono, depending on the ingredients used. Oysters,
scallops, cod, salmon, turtle, and chicken are all popular. Chanko-nabe, a variety made
with chicken, seafood, potatoes, and other vegetables, is the staple diet of Japan's sumo
wrestlers.  (It's quite filling, as you might expect.) Another special type of nabemono is
the internationally known beef sukiyaki. Since nabe dishes are cooked quickly, the
individual ingredients maintain their flavor and identity. Diners can enjoy a succession
of different tastes and textures as various vegetables and pieces of seafood are pulled out
of the pot and eaten.  As the meal progresses, the cooking liquid absorbs more and more
flavors from the foods being cooked.

Eating Nabemono

	Dining on nabemono in a restaurant is a participatory experience, since everyone at
the table does the cooking.  Each table is equipped with a small gas burner (or a portable
charcoal hibachi burner at traditional restaurants). The burner is lit and a big pot of
cooking broth is set on top. Once the liquid starts bubbling you can add food to the pot
piece by piece.  Fish, prawns, and various mushrooms and fungi should be added first,
since they take the longest to cook.  Very crisp vegetables, such as carrots, can also be
added at this stage.  Seasonings such as scallions, grated radish, and red pepper are added
to your own private dish of ponzu-tare (a citrus-flavored soy-based dip) rather than to
the communal pot. The most delicate ingredients (such as tofu and chrysanthemum
leaves) should be cooked just before you eat them. Watch them carefully and pull them
out quickly, otherwise they'll overcook and fall apart. The meal will usually end with
udon noodles or rice -- these are added to the pot to soak up the remaining liquid, which
is by then quite flavorful.  One more cooking tip -- usually there's a wooden spoon that
you can use to skim the foam off the top of the bubbling liquid. Nabemono dishes are
most popular in the late fall and winter months. A few varieties like beef sukiyaki can
be found all year round.  Exotic meats such as wild boar, venison, and horsemeat are
often cooked nabemono-style, and these can be found in Japanese regional restaurants.


Typical nabe dishes

	sukiyaki thinly sliced beef and vegetables

	shabu-shabu thinly sliced beef, quick-cooked in a watery broth

	yose-nabe vegetable and seafood (and/or chicken) stew

	chiri-nabe fish and vegetable stew

	tara (chiri)-nabe codfish and vegetable stew

	kaki-nabe oyster and vegetable stew

	dote-nabe oyster and vegetable stew with _miso_ (soybean paste)

	mizutaki chicken and vegetable stew

	yanagawa-nabe stew made from loach, burdock root, and egg

	dojO-nabe same as yanagawa-nabe

	yudOfu tofu boiled in hot water

	udon-suki broad udon noodles and fish stew

	ankO-nabe angler-fish stew

	kamo-nabe duck (or dark-meat chicken) stew

	suppon-nabe soft-shelled turtle stew

	ishikari-nabe salmon and vegetable stew with _miso_ (soybean paste) and butter

	sakura-nabe horsemeat stew

	botan-nabe wild boar stew

	inoshishi-nabe same as botan-nabe

	Chanko-nabe a hearty, heavy stew made from various ingredients and popular with
	sumo wrestlers

	tori-niku  --   with chicken sakana --   with fish buta-niku --  with pork ebi --   with
	shrimp gyU-niku --   with beef

Other vocabulary

	zOsui rice porridge (sometimes added to broth at the end of the meal

	udon broad noodles (sometimes added at end of meal)

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