Saturday, January 22, 2011

Preview: Shabu Shabu

This is what we're having tonight.

Shabu Shabu

But today you only get a preview.

A teaser.

You'll see the whole meal next week.


I have really come to appreciate the Japanese diet.

I've been to Japan only twice. Both times, what impressed me most about food, is that Japanese people eat only a little bit. We Americans would say Japanese people eat a Tiny Bit. BUT, that tiny bit is fresh, simple, artfully prepared and packed with flavor. Less is more.

(Did you know that one of the secrets to the Okinawans living so long is that they only eat until they're 80% full?)


Flavor. We're talking about flavor.

When you're only eating a tiny bit, flavor is most important.

There's a word for it.


Wikipedia says that umami, "..describes a pleasant...taste with a long lasting, mouthwatering...sensation over the tongue."

Kind of brings to mind something Iron Chef Morimoto would make, doesn't it.

So in my quest to eat less, eat healthier, and still enjoy myself, I began a search into my Japanese roots--for the past 30 years or so--to overhaul my lifestyle.

It's an on-going process.

Books have helped me do that.

I have collected these over the last 30+ years. Thanks to owner Carolyn Sanwo, Heritage Source carries a myriad of Japanese cookbooks. She finds the good ones and I get them from her.

My two newest cookbooks are Kansha and

(I love Ree. She's my idol. Hers isn't a Japanese cookbook, but my favorite of the moment.)

My niece says I could be The Asian Pioneer Woman.

My kindergarten childhood friend says I'm Sansei Woman.

We may have some things in common, Ree and I. But she takes them to the stratosphere.

Back to Japanese food...

And so, this is how I come to this meal.

Shabu Shabu.

My parents first took us to eat shabu shabu at the Shabu Shabu House in Little Tokyo's Japanese Village. Karen had to stand up to cook her food because she was too small to reach the boiling pot while sitting down. The Shabu Shabu Man, as my kids call the owner, called her "Baby".

Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

(Sorry, couldn't resist! :)

Here are my mother & father in-law sitting in the corner at the Shabu Shabu House in 2006.

We haven't been there in awhile, now we have shabu shabu at home more than we go out to have it. At home you can make it exactly how you like it. Or you can make it simple with just a few ingredients.

Photos and recipe next week.

Enjoy your weekend!


  1. Isn't there some kind of group that will protect us from the cruelties of being tortured by photos of these delicious meals...?!! Oh my, Karolyn...It almost looks too beautiful to cook and eat! Notice I did say "almost". =) Happy eating!

  2. Goodness-- thank you for the plug, Karolyn. Please tell us more about your lifestyle overhaul-- to eat less, etc. We develop certain habits growing up and find they are not the healthiest in adulthood-- leading us to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Like you said, it is an "on-going process." (that's the occupational therapist in me talking)

    Love this photo. If I show this to Aaron, his mouth will water! (he's never been a fan of my shabu shabu!). eagerly awaiting next week!