In the family of Japanese one-pot wonders — sukiyaki among them — the standout dinner is yosenabe, a mixture of seafood, chicken, tofu, glass noodles, and vegetables. Diners use their chopsticks to dip into a communal earthenware pot on a portable burner. Inside the pot is a simmering broth filled with the seafood, vegetables, and other ingredients. Diners lift out a piece of fish, a shiitake mushroom, or savory Chinese cabbage, then dab the food into a citrusy piquant soy sauce seasoned with grated daikon.
The meal is leisurely. Friends and family make their way through a platter of beautifully displayed raw ingredients, adding them to the pot as they eat. Fish and chicken go in first because they take the longest to cook. The simmering liquid gives the food flavor and results in a delicious broth, enjoyed at the end of the meal with clear noodles, also cooked in the broth.
Most households are not equipped with portable tabletop burners, but you can make this meal with a few adjustments. Use a heavy-based pot with a lid. Heat the broth, let the seafood, poultry, and vegetables simmer briefly, and then bring the pot to the table.
The Japanese hot pot of seafood, chicken, and vegetables is served with a soy dipping sauce. Have a soup bowl plus a smaller bowl for the sauce for each diner.
FOR THE BROTH
5 cups water
3 chicken wings
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sake or dry white wine
1. In a large, flame-proof casserole, bring the water to a boil. Add the chicken wings and return to a boil. Skim the broth. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the wings — bone them and add the meat to soup — and skim off the fat.
2. Add soy sauce, sugar, and sake or wine. Bring to a boil and set over low heat.
FOR THE SAUCE
½ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ daikon (long white radish), peeled
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce and lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a small pitcher.
2. Using the small holes on a box grater, grate the radish and place it in a small serving bowl. Sprinkle the radish with the cayenne and mix well. Set aside.
FOR THE POT
1 bundle (2 ounces) rice stick noodles
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
3/4 pound skinless, boneless firm white-fleshed fish or salmon
8 littleneck or hard-shell clams
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms
½ small head of Chinese cabbage, quartered
1 cake (14 ounces) firm tofu, cut into 8 pieces
2 carrots, sliced diagonally to ¼ inch thick
4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal into 8 pieces each
16 pea pods
1. In a bowl, combine the rice sticks and enough boiling water to cover them. Set aside for 20 minutes. Drain noodles and cut in half.
2. Cut the chicken into 1-by-3-inch strips. Cut the fish into 8 pieces.
3. Rinse the clams. Soak the clams in cold water for 10 minutes. Arrange the noodles, chicken, fish, and clams on a large platter.
4. Remove stems from the mushrooms. Wipe the caps with wet paper towel. Carve an x into the caps. Add the caps to the platter.
5. Add the cabbage, tofu, carrots, scallions, noodles, and pea pods to platter. Set aside.
6. To the simmering broth, add half the chicken, 4 clams, 4 mushrooms, half the cabbage, and half the carrots. Reduce heat and cover the pan. Simmer for 3 minutes.
7. Add half of the remaining ingredients, except for the pea pods. Cover and cook for 3 minutes until clamshells are open. Add 8 pea pods and remove from heat.
8. Divide the cooked chicken, fish, and vegetables among 4 bowls. Add a little broth to each bowl.9. Pour a little of the dipping sauce into each of the 4 small bowls. Add a spoonful of the spicy daikon and serve at once. Dip the cooked food into the sauce. Cook the remaining ingredients in the same way.