Stir-fry Nabe

A nabe dish in which all the ingredients are cut into bite-size pieces and stir-fried before simmering. The result is a soup bursting with a symphony of flavors.

Stir-fry Nabe
Photographed by Masaya Suzuki

Recipe by
Hiroko Horie







Calorie count is per serving.
Excludes time needed to reconstitute the shiitake.

Ingredients (Serves approx. 4)

  • 200-300 g thinly sliced pork
  • 5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 500-600 g Chinese cabbage
  • 2 bunches scallions
  • 1 carrot
  • 70-80 g imitation crab
  • 50 g harusame (dried)
  • [A]

    • 2-3 slices ginger (thinly sliced)
    • Japanese leeks (green portion), as needed
  • [B]

    • 2 tbs sake
    • 1 1/2 tbs chicken soup granules (Chinese)
    • A pinch of salt
    • A pinch of pepper
    • A dash of soy sauce
  • Cooked rice, as needed
  • Vegetable oil, as needed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water



Barely cover the shiitake with water and soak until reconstituted. Remove the stems and cut the caps into thin slices. Retain the soaking liquid.


Cut the pork into bite-size pieces. Separate the Chinese cabbage into stems and leaves. Cut the stems into 4 cm long 1 cm wide pieces. Chop the leaves into large pieces. Cut the scallions into 4 cm lengths. Cut the carrot into fairly thick 4 cm long rectangles.


Cutting the Chinese cabbage stems along the grain helps to prevent them from becoming too sweet or tender.


Shred the imitation crab. Soak the dried harusame in boiling water to soften and cut into easy-to-eat lengths.


Pour a dash of vegetable oil into a pan and stir-fry the Chinese cabbage stems over medium heat. When translucent, sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper and remove from the pan. Add another dash of vegetable oil to the pan and stir-fry the leaves. When tender, sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper and remove.


Working in batches, stir-fry and season the pork, shiitake, and then the scallions. Stir-fry and season the carrots, but do not remove from the pan yet. Add 2-3 tbsp of water, cover, steam, and remove once tender.


Add enough water to the reserved shiitake liquid to make 1.2 liters of stock. Pour into a donabe clay pot along with [A] and bring to a low boil. When aromatic, remove [A] and add [B].


Place the Chinese cabbage stems and harusame in the donabe clay pot. Arrange the other ingredients in a radial pattern. Add enough stock to just cover the ingredients. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and serve in individual bowls, soup and all. Mix with rice to eat.


Make sure the stock just about covers the ingredients. If the liquid level drops too low, replenish with more stock.


When eating nabe, rice or noodles are often added at the very end to complete the meal. But with soup curry, you eat the rice as you go along. Mixing the rice with the soup a spoonful at a time makes it go down so well you'll end up eating more than your fill of curry.