Shabu shabu broth is a wonderful dish to make for gatherings – a huge pot of this Korean delicacy is supposed to be put in the center of a table whilst still piping hot, for your guests to dip hot pot veggies and meat in.
It is packed with flavor, but is deceptively simple to make, leaving you with less to do, and less to clean up, so that you have more time to spend chatting to friends, instead of fussing over food.
Below, we have compiled a list of our favorite shabu shabu broth recipes. But, is shabu shabu broth really spicy?
As with a lot of things, it is dependent on your spice and pain tolerance – we suggest that you assess your own spice tolerance level, and then find the recipe on this list that you think will be best for your taste buds (and if you are making thai for a dinner party, those of your guests).
The Classic Korean Shabu Shabu Broth
Ingredients For the Anchovy-Kelp Stock Broth
- Two liters of water (about 8.5 cups)
- 20 dried anchovies (though fresh can be used in a pinch)
- A hand-sized piece of dashima (which is kelp)
- One spring onion stalk
Ingredients for the Broth’s Spicy Marinade
- Four tablespoons of gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
- Two tablespoons of soy sauce
- One tablespoon of sugar
- One tablespoon of honey
- One and a half tablespoons of minced garlic
- Three tablespoons of gochujang
- Two tablespoons of doenjang
Dipping sauce for the Shabu Shabu
- Two tablespoons of soy sauce
- One tablespoon of rice vinegar (any type of vinegar will be okay, we particularly like white and apple cider vinegar though)
- Six tablespoons of anchovy-kelp broth
- A small dab of wasabi
Essential ingredients for Shabu Shabu
- 500-800 grams of thinly sliced beef
- One potato
- ½ of an onion
- A small handful of mushrooms
Additional or optional ingredients (just add these if you fancy!)
- A small handful of minari (also known as water celery)
- A small handful of baby napa cabbage
- A small handful of fresh tofu, cut into batons
- A small handful of Korean fishcakes (which is known as odeng)
- A small handful of fresh kalguksu noodles
- One cup of rice
- A small handful of chopped green onions
- An egg
- Make the anchovy kelp broth – pour your water into a large pot. Carefully clean out your dried anchovies by splitting them with your fingers and scraping out the black innards with a spoon. Then add the cleaned anchovies to the pot. Then add your piece of dashima to the pot as well. Next, add your scallion stalk. Place on high heat and bring up to rolling boil.
- Once the broth begins to boil, set a 10 minutes timer. After 10 minutes, take the pot off the heat. Take out the anchovies, kelp pieces, and the scallion stalk – and then throw them out. Then use a soup ladle to skim off any residual bubbles or foam that float on top of the broth.
- Scoop out three soup ladles of the broth, and put it into a small bowl. Set this small amount of broth aside – as we will use it when making the dipping sauce.
- Transfer your stock broth into a pot that you are planning on using as the serving hot pot. If your pot can’t fit all the broth – no worries! Just fill it 80% full, as you can always add more broth later.
- Make the spicy broth marinade: in a bowl mix together your Gochugaru, Sugar, Soy Sauce, Honey, Gochujang, Doenjang, Minced Garlic. Ensure it is all thoroughly combined.
- Make the dipping sauce: Mix together your Soy Sauce, Vinegar, and Anchovy-Kelp Broth. Pour the sauce into little individual dipping plates – this should make a sauce for two individual plates. If you need any more, simply double up on the ratios. With each plate, finish by adding a little dab of wasabi to the side.
- Prep the ingredients: Cut your onion into thin slices. Dice the potato into thin pieces. Wash and cut the oyster mushroom’s stem. Then thoroughly wash the minari and trim off its ends. Cut the minari into finger-length pieces. Continue to wash, prep, and trim all the veg you’re planning on using in the hot pot.
- Prep your kalguksu noodles: fill a little bowl with cold water, and then soak your noodles. This process removes any extra flour on the noodles. Carefully place the soaked noodles on a plate.
- Prep your mixed rice: place a cup of cooked rice into a bowl. Spread it across the bowl, so the rice can cool down a little. Sprinkle a handful of chopped green onion. Place the bowl of rice in the refrigerator for now – we’ll come back to it at the end of the meal.
- Cook shabu shabu: put your broth-filled hotpot onto the heating apparatus (gas burner/electric plate), and put it on high heat. Add ½ of the Spicy Marinade – you can add more to taste later if you desire. Gently mix the paste into the hot water, until it has all dissolved.
- Next, add in all of the sliced potatoes. These take the longest to cook – so it is best to add them early on in the cooking process. Once the pot starts to bubble, add the sliced onions and mushrooms. Then, add in the minari. Let it all simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Now, you can hot pot. Simply pick out any of the prepped ingredients that you’d like and cook it in the hot pot for 20-30 seconds (or just to your preference). Once the ingredient is cooked, take it out of the pot and dip it in your individual dish of dipping sauce.
- Add your kalguksu noodles: whilst you are eating, keep an eye on your pot’s broth level. When the broth has been reduced by half, add in your prepared kalguksu noodles. Be gentle with them, as they can break easily after soaking, and let it cook for 5-6 minutes.
- If your broth is running low, you can top it up using more of the leftover anchovy- kelp broth, along with another scoop of the Spicy Marinade.
- Finishing with your mixed rice: Near the end of your meal – it’s time for the mixed rice! Place the hot pot back on medium-high heat, so that it starts to bubble. Scoop out any of the excess broth (you can eat this like soup, or just tip it down the drain), so that you have only a small amount of broth in the bottom of the pot.
- Then your bowl of rice out of the refrigerator. Crack an egg into it. Carefully dump all of this mixture into the pot. Use a soup ladle to mix the rice thoroughly. Spread the rice across the bottom of the pot. Let it cook for just a minute. Season with a few sprinkles of salt.
- Scrape the rice off the bottom of your pot and serve in a bowl, or eat it directly out of the hot pot (which will save on washing up)!
Variations On Our Recipe
Though we use gochugaru, which is the Korean equivalent of red pepper flakes (in Korea, ‘gochu’ means chili pepper, and ‘garu’ means powder), you can substitute this out if you want your broth to have a different flavor profile or spice level.
Gochujang, a Korean red chilli paste, will give the dish the same kick when added in the same quantity, but has a much more complex flavor, because of the fermentation process that it undergoes.
Gochugaru provides heat and smokiness only, whereas gochujang makes your food have a sweet, nearly tangy, and spicy taste.
You can also add chipotle powder, which will give a similar flavor if you can’t find gochugaru in stores near you. If you are planning on using this alternative, it is with knowing that chipotle powder has a more intense, smoky flavor, so you may have to add a little less.
Cayenne pepper can be used if you would like a little more heat in the dish, or if you are wanting a milder version you can use chile pasilla, a milder Mexican chili. The red hot chile de arbol will make the broth a lot spicier – for all the heat freaks out there.
Shabu shabu is a great dish to serve to your friends if you want maximum impact with minimum effort. This authentic recipe is one of the best out there, but it is a resilient broth, so you can substitute out a number of ingredients to your preference without a negative impact. Give it a go with your favorite chili flakes!