Yukimi Nabe Hot Pot Dish; Get Warm with Seasonal Ingredients

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yukimi nabe

During the cold winter season, people try to warm themselves by eating hearty meals. Satoshi Ogino, the owner of a Japanese restaurant, recommends “yukimi nabe” hot pot prepared with seasonal turnips and yellowtail.

This dish is also called “yuki nabe” because it is eaten with grated vegetables such as turnip and daikon radish, which resemble snow, or “yuki” in Japanese. Seafood is also used in the nabe.

Ogino says yukimi nabe is a nostalgic dish for him because his mentor, Toru Okuda, at a restaurant called Ginza Koju, used to serve the dish to customers.

“This time, I will use fatty yellowtail and slightly sweet shogoin kabu turnip. Both are in season, and their aromas go well together. You can also use crab, scallops or shrimp instead of yellowtail,” Ogino said.

He uses this variety of the turnip and Kujo negi green onions — both specialties of Kyoto Prefecture — for the dish because he trained in the prefecture. “Both shogoin turnips and Kujo green onions are perfect for nabe because they sweeten when cooked. Try to cook them if you find them in the store. Small turnips and other long green onions will also work,” he said.

The turnip should not be firmly pressed against a grater but instead grated with light pressure in a circular motion to produce a fluffy texture.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Lightly grate the turnip in a circular motion.

Blocks of yellowtail should be cut into five- to six-millimeter-thick slices. If it has already been sliced like sashimi, you can cut each of slice in half. Note that the fish cooks quickly when parboiled. Thicker slices take more time to cook and can become rather dry as a result.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cut yellowtail into five- to six-millimeter-thick slices.

Boil seasoned broth in a pot. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the green onions. Add turnip. Pile the vegetables high in the center of the pot for good aesthetics. Sprinkle yuzu peel on top for a refreshing aroma.

Parboil the yellowtail in the pot and eat it with the fluffy grated turnip. The sweetness of the turnip and green onion envelops the fatty fish, creating a gentle flavor. The broth, rich in the umami from its ingredients, is also delicious.

The dish is easy to prepare with its simple ingredients and should be perfect as a regular winter nabe meal.

Pickled greens with turnip

The Yomiur Shimbun
Pickled greens with turnip

Ogino also gave us a recipe for pickled green vegetables mixed with turnip.

Peel and thinly slice two turnips. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on and press the turnips to remove moisture.

Finely chop some store-bought pickled greens and mix them with roasted white sesame seeds and cayenne pepper before adding a few drops of light soy sauce.

The dish has the fresh texture of the turnip and is perfect as a palate cleanser during meals or as a snack to accompany alcohol.

Yukimi nabe

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 10 x 15 cm kombu
  • 40 grams dried bonito flakes
  • 120 grams yellowtail block (sashimi grade)
  • 1/2 shogoin turnip (or small turnip, 400 grams)
  • 1 thick Kujo negi green onion (or long green onion, 50 grams)
  • Yuzu peel as needed
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce

  • Directions:

    1. Put kombu and 1 liter of water in a pot and let sit for 1.5 hours. Add dried bonito flakes and heat. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes while removing the scum.

    2. Place a colander lined with paper towels in a bowl. Pour the broth into the colander. Let the broth cool.

    3. Peel turnip and grate. Place in a colander to drain.

    4. Slice Kujo negi green onion diagonally into thin slices.

    5. Finely chop yuzu peel.

    6. Cut yellowtail block into five- to six-millimeter-thick slices. Place on a plate.

    7. Mix 750 ml of the broth with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and light soy sauce in a pot and heat.

    8. When the broth comes to a boil, add long green onion and cook it through. Press the water out of the grated turnip and add to broth. Sprinkle yuzu peel.

    9. Parboil yellowtail in the broth using chopsticks. Serve it with the grated turnip.