Author: Lisa Childs
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you purchase something I recommend - at no additional cost to you! Thank you for supporting this blog!
This Shabu Shabu recipe is one of our favorite Japanese dishes! And now, even easier in the Instant Pot! Instant Pot Shabu Shabu is incredibly healthy, easy, fun, and fresh.
what is shabu shabu?
If you’ve never heard of Shabu Shabu, don’t be scared!
It’s basically Japanese fondue. It may seem foreign, but you’ll easily fall in love with this Instant Pot Shabu Shabu recipe!
You enjoy shabu shabu by dipping thinly sliced meats and vegetables in a boiling broth to cook, then dip in a delectably citrusy soy sauce called Ponzu (pōwn-zoo) or a rich sesame sauce called gōma.
“Shabu shabu” is actually an onomatopoeia (a word that is formed by the associated sound) of the paper-thin meat swishing in the boiling broth.
homemade shabu shabu recipe
There’s a fun new Shabu Shabu restaurant in SLC that we really like, but if we can’t make it there, we make homemade shabu shabu!
We love making our Shabu Shabu recipe at home in the Instant Pot on Saute mode. That way, you don’t have to purchase any special equipment.
Traditionally, Shabu Shabu is served in a beautiful clay pot (or a regular large pot) on a portable burner (like I have in some of these pictures).
Some enthusiasts even buy special, dedicated pots!
Making shabu shabu in an Instant Pot is a great way to get the same fun and flavor even if you don’t have all of those things.
Shabu shabu has three fundamental components: sauce, broth, and dipping components.
In this post, you’ll learn about the best shabu shabu ingredients, sauce, and broth; how to make shabu shabu; and (best of all) how to eat it!
How to Make homemade Shabu Shabu Video
MORE ASIAN OR ASIAN-INSPIRED RECIPES
- Fresh or Frozen Chicken Teriyaki in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Curry (Pineapple Coconut!)
- Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber Salad
- Instant Pot Hot and Sour Soup
- Egg Drop Soup
- Cream Cheese Wontons (Air Fryer or Deep Fried)
- Tuna Poke Bowl
- Instant Pot Kalua Pork
- Inari Sushi
- Simple Miso Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
- Instant Pot Meatloaf Cupcakes with Teriyaki Glaze
- Instant Pot Chicken Legs from Fresh or Frozen
SHABU SHABU SAUCE RECIPE
Sauces: ponzu and goma
Ponzu sauce is a totally essential ingredient to make shabu shabu!
Do not substitute! It is the brightest, freshest, most delicious sauce ever. My mouth is literally salivating as I type.
You can find ponzu at a lot of regular grocery stores (I’ve seen it at Walmart and Winco), but you’ll definitely be able to find it in an Asian grocery store.
My shabu shabu Youtube video shows a tour of an Asian grocery store where you can find ponzu.
Here are my favorite kinds:
- 64 Oz Kikkoman Ponzu (shown above)
- 64 Oz. Kikkoman Lime Ponzu (same size and brand as the picture above but the lime flavor. Brett loves this one best)
- 12 oz Mitsukan brand Ponzu (my favorite)
Goma sauce (goma = sesame in Japanese) is a very creamy, savory, nutty sesame sauce. Brett loves it, but I prefer to only use ponzu.
Traditional shabu shabu is served with both ponzu and goma as dipping sauces! (In separate bowls, not mixed.)
Shabu Shabu Broth recipe
Broth: Water, kombu
Kombu is dried kelp (NOT nori like you have on sushi), and it’s what flavors the shabu shabu broth.
Kombu (kelp) usually flavors shabu shabu broth, but I never worry if I don’t have it! It really doesn’t make a huge difference.
Just add about two tablespoons of soy sauce to the water and two stalks’ worth of cut up green onion to flavor the broth.
Bam, you have an easy shabu shabu broth recipe.
SHABU SHABU BROTH RECIPE — SPICY
If you are at the Asian market anyway, you can find a lot of Chinese-flavored broth mixes and concentrates to use in your shabu shabu, though this makes it more Chinese and less Japanese.
Chinese hot pot features a much richer, flavored broth to dip your ingredients into. If you like spicy foods, you could definitely get one of those spicier broth mixes!
Shabu Shabu Meat
Getting the correct kind of meat is absolutely vital to having a good shabu shabu experience.
In my experience, I’ve never been able to find meat that is cut thinly enough at a traditional, US supermarket for shabu shabu.
Costco started selling very thinly cut New York strip advertised as “shabu shabu” meat, but I personally still find it way too thick (and more appropriate for cheesesteaks or stir fry).
You’ll be able to find the right meat at an Asian grocery store. The meat will be frozen, because it is frozen when the butcher cuts it. It’s almost always sold rolled in individual pieces, or layered very thinly if it’s raw.
The packaging for shabu shabu meat will almost always indicate that it is specifically for shabu shabu or hot pot. When in doubt, ask the butcher or show them the picture of this post!
Our favorite types of meat are thinly cut pork and beef. However, you’ll find so many other varieties such as lamb, seafood, and fish cakes.
OTHER SHABU SHABU INGREDIENTS
Besides the meat, these are the things that you’ll cook in the broth.
They should be cut and prepared so that they can cook as quickly as possible.
- Napa cabbage: I like to pick the smallest head (or heart) that has as much green as possible. Some napa cabbages can be as large as watermelons! But the larger they are, the tougher the leaves are. I cut the cabbage into about 2 inch pieces.
- Mushrooms: enoki mushrooms (the tiny white, skinny ones), beech mushrooms (the medium-sized brown mushrooms), seafood mushrooms (the fatter, taller white mushrooms), and shiitake mushrooms (I like to rehydrate dried ones). My market I go to sells variety packs with an assortment of these mushrooms which I like to get sometimes. Mushrooms should be washed and cut into small, bite-sized pieces or chunks.
- Silken tofu: cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- Green onions: cut into 1.5 inch stalks
- Carrots: I like to get the fattest carrot I can find, then take a vegetable peeler and press down really hard to make long but thin ribbons of carrots. Roll them into little rosettes and they are SO pretty on your serving tray! I also will take a small mini vegetable cutter in the shape of flowers and make little carrot “sprinkles”. They add such a beautiful pop of color and flavor!
- Shirataki (Harusame) noodles: These noodles are long, clear, and very thin. They’re most similar to rice noodles that you might find in a spring roll. These are sold dried in the noodle aisle.
- Udon noodles: Udon noodles are thick, fat, white noodles sold frozen and they’re absolutely delicious in shabu shabu!
Other supplies for Instant Pot shabu shabu
Next to the Instant Pot, I like to have a “drip bowl” that is a shallow, small bowl with a flat strainer/net on top.
That way, I can use a large spider net or tongs to take out a lot of food at once for the whole table, and it drips on top of the strainer into that bowl.
If you take your bite directly from the Instant Pot to your ponzu, your ponzu will become diluted much faster.
When your ponzu becomes diluted, just discard it and get a fresh serving!
I also always have a tight knit skimmer/mesh food strainer to skim the impurities, fat, and scum off the top of the broth as you go through your meal. The scum can be skimmed off the top into a separate bowl to dispose.
how to cook shabu shabu recipe
Shabu shabu is cooked family style, where everyone adds whatever they want to the pot. You’ll want to ensure everyone has an individual bowl to have their cooked food, and then separate smaller bowls of the dipping sauces.
- Assemble and clean/prepare your ingredients.
- Fill up your Instant Pot liner with water and set the Instant Pot to High Saute.
- Once the water starts simmering, add a piece of kombu to flavor (or two tablespoons of soy sauce to the water and two stalks’ worth of cut up green onion).
- Once the water starts boiling, add in some of the larger pieces of vegetable that will take the longest to cook (cabbage, noodles, large mushrooms). Don’t overcrowd the pot, though!
HOW TO EAT SHABU SHABU
The best part about this shabu shabu recipe is that you can eat a ton without it feeling heavy, and it’s just a FUN eating experience!
We always keep the pot pretty full of ingredients, so there’s always something hot and fresh to take out and enjoy.
Who knew it would be so easy to make shabu shabu at home?
Here’s a breakdown of how exactly to eat shabu shabu.
- Using chopsticks or mini tongs, grab a piece of meat and swish it in the boiling water. It will only take a moment to cook!
- Take it out, along with some of the veggies.
- Place the freshly cooked food in an empty bowl to “drip” (if you have a strainer, place that over the bowl!)
- Grab the perfect bite (my favorite bite is napa cabbage, pork, and noodles) and dip it into your separate small ponzu bowl.
- Devour, then repeat!
- If your Instant Pot turns off (it will automatically after 30 minutes, press the Cancel button and press the Saute button again.
- When your ponzu or goma sauce gets diluted, dump the bowl and grab a fresh one!
Once you start making the meat, you will notice a foam start to appear on the surface of the water.
These are just impurities from the meat that float to the top and the foam is not harmful to eat (but I skim them off)
Leftover shabu shabu Ingredients
If you happen to have any leftover ingredients and don’t plan on doing shabu shabu again the next night, just throw everything into the Instant Pot to cook for a couple minutes.
Remove the food out of the Instant Pot with a skimmer.
Let it drain, then put it in a tupperware and enjoy it the next day with a fresh bowl of ponzu to dip!
Or, you could make a delicious stir fry with the ingredients!
Instant Pot Shabu Shabu
- water to the max line
- [4 inch piece of Kombu dried kelp]
- [Ponzu sauce] 1 cup per person, divided
- [Goma sauce] 1/2 cup per person
Shabu Shabu Ingredients
- 3/4-1 pound per person Thinly sliced Shabu Shabu meat (we like beef and pork, but you can get any special shabu shabu meat like lamb, seafood, and/or fishcakes)
- 1 Large Napa Cabbage washed and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 14 oz Silken Tofu cut into 1 1/2 inch squares
- 1 bunch green onions cut into 2 inch pieces
- carrots I like to get the fattest carrot I can find, then take a vegetable peeler and press down really hard to make long but thin ribbons of carrots. Roll them into little rosettes and they are SO pretty on your serving tray! They add such a beautiful pop of color and flavor!
- 1 package Shirataki Harusame Noodles or any other kind of noodle
- 1 frozen portion of Udon noodles per person
- 200 gram package of Enoki Mushrooms
- one bunch Beech Mushrooms brown
- one bunch Seafood Mushrooms
- 2 Cups dried Shiitake Mushrooms rehydrated and rinsed
- Fill up your Instant Pot liner with water to the max line and set the Instant Pot to high saute. The pot should be at the table or wherever you will be eating. This is a collaborative, interaction dining experience!
- Once the water starts simmering, add a piece of kombu to flavor. If you do not have kombu, just add a splash of soy sauce, dashi seasoning, and/or green onions to flavor the broth. You can also purchase Chinese-style broth seasonings which are usually spicy and much more potent.
- Clean/wash and prepare your ingredients. Mushrooms need to have the bottoms removed that have dirt on them, dry noodles should be placed in a cup or plate, carrots should be thinly sliced or shaved, cabbage should be cut into 2 inch pieces, and everything arranged on a platter.
- 10 minutes before serving, remove meat from the freezer and assemble on a separate tray or platter. The meat should be semi-frozen for easiest preparation, otherwise the meat will all stick together.
- Each place setting should have two or three small bowls (about the size of a ramekin). One that is empty for dripping/gathering cooked food, and two more for dipping sauces (one with 1/2 cup ponzu and the other with 1/2 cup goma). Each person should also have chopsticks or small tongs.
- Once the water starts boiling, you're ready to gather and eat! Add in some of the larger pieces of vegetable that will take the longest to cook (cabbage, noodles, large mushrooms). Don't overcrowd the pot, though! We have done this with two Instant Pots on the table at once.
- Using chopsticks or mini tongs, grab a piece of meat and swish it in the boiling water. It will only take a moment to cook.
- Take out the meat, along with some of the veggies and noodles when they are cooked through.
- Place the freshly cooked food in an empty bowl to "drip" (I actually scoop everything out and put it in a communal serving dish that has a flat net/strainer type rack so things drip better).
- Grab the perfect bite (my favorite bite is napa cabbage, pork, and noodles with some pieces of shiitake mushrooms) and dip it into your separate small ponzu bowl.
- Devour, then repeat!
Just watched your shabu shabu video! I don’t know how to comment on YouTube because I’m a 30 year old dinosaur, but I wanted to say THANK YOU!!! I have wanted to try this since I first saw you talk about it on IG. I thought about going to a restaurant but was self conscious because I wouldn’t have a guide to show me how. I love that you took us to the store to show us exactly what to look for and then how to eat it! Next time I’m in the city (small town life) I’m going to go to the Asian store and make it happen! I feel super empowered, and I am definitely throwing a party! We don’t have any eating opportunities like this for at least 100 miles where I live. So fun to be able to make it happen at home. Thank you!
I served my mission in Japan so when I saw you made a recipe for this I jumped at the chance to make it. I have made it twice already and love it. It taste so good and just like how I wanted it to!
Thank you for another easy family favorite!