A Guide to Shabu Shabu Beef: Japan’s Famous Swish and Dip Hot Pot Dish

Shabu shabu is a delicious Japanese dish where thin slices of beef and vegetables are swished briefly in a hot broth then dipped in flavorful sauces. The name comes from the “swish swish” sound the meat makes while cooking. Keep reading to learn all about shabu shabu, the special beef used, and how to cook it yourself.

What is Shabu Shabu?

Shabu shabu is a type of Japanese hot pot dish consisting of paper-thin slices of meat and vegetables cooked tableside in a simmering broth. Diners swish just a few pieces of meat or veggies at a time in the broth until cooked through, then dip them in sauce before eating.

The dish originated in Japan in the 20th century as a spin on traditional hot pot meals that had been enjoyed for thousands of years. The bite-by-bite cooking method makes shabu shabu unique. The name mirrors the swishing sound the meat makes while cooking.

The Origins of Shabu Shabu Beef

Authentic shabu shabu uses very thinly sliced high-quality beef or pork. Top choices are:

  • Wagyu beef – Prized for exquisite marbling. Kobe beef is famous.

  • Kurobuta pork – Berkshire pork with lush marbling known as “Kobe beef of pork”.

  • Matsusaka beef – Wagyu-style beef with heavy marbling from Mie prefecture.

  • Omi beef – Shiga prefecture wagyu rivaling the best Kobe beef.

  • Yonezawa beef – Wagyu-style beef from Yamagata prefecture.

The intense marbling gives these meats a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness when cooked quickly in the simmering broth.

How to Cook Shabu Shabu at Home

Follow this simple process to make shabu shabu beef at home:

  • Get paper-thin slices – Freeze meat slightly for easier slicing or buy pre-sliced.

  • Make dashi broth – Kombu and bonito broth enhances umami. Water works too.

  • Prepare vegetables – Slice veggies and tofu into bite-sized pieces.

  • Cook in batches – Swish just a few slices of meat or veggies at a time in the simmering broth.

  • Dip in sauce – Enjoy with ponzu citrus soy sauce and sesame dipping sauce.

  • Add udon noodles – Drop udon into the broth at the end to absorb flavors.

Shabu Shabu Tips

Follow these tips for the perfect shabu shabu experience:

  • Use the freshest ingredients possible – high quality meat and seasonal vegetables.

  • Slice meat as thin as possible – partially freeze for easier slicing.

  • Cook in small batches – don’t overload the hot pot.

  • Swish gently – excessive swirling can make meat tough.

  • Adjust broth as needed – add more dashi or water to maintain temperature.

  • Offer dipping sauce variety – ponzu, sesame, chili oil, garlic, etc.

  • Cook firm vegetables first – like carrots, potatoes, greens.

  • Add udon noodles last – to soak up remaining flavors.

Enjoy Restaurant-Quality Shabu Shabu at Home

With top-notch thinly sliced beef, aromatic broth, and an array of dipping sauces, you can recreate the shabu shabu dining experience at home. Just be sure to use the freshest ingredients and slice meats paper-thin. Swish mindfully in small batches for tender, flavorful results. Your family and friends will be amazed at your shabu shabu skills!

Quick & Easy: New York Shabu Shabu French Dip with Au Jus


What is shabu shabu style beef?

Shabu Shabu is an easy and fun dish to make at home using thin-sliced beef and a table-top burner. Prep time: 15 to 30 minutes. Thin sliced beef cooked in a delicious broth and dipped in a light soy and citrus sauce — that’s Shabu Shabu! Thin-sliced Beef.

Is shabu shabu beef healthy?

One of the main benefits of shabu shabu is its low calorie and low fat content. The meat and vegetables used in the dish are typically boiled or blanched, which means they are cooked without added oil or fat. This makes it a great option for those looking to watch their weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What does shabu mean in Japanese?

Probably ultimately from Japanese シャブ (“stimulant: amphetamine, methamphetamine”), in turn possibly from the verb しゃぶる (shaburu, “to suck on something”), from the way that the addictiveness of the drugs sucks in the user.

What is shabu shabu beef ramen?

Shabu-shabu is a popular Japanese-style hot pot dish, influenced by Chinese hot pot, featuring loads of fresh vegetables, thinly sliced beef, and assorted sauces. “Shabu-shabu” is an onomatopoeic reference to the swish-swish sound of the meat as it gets dipped (and quickly cooked) in the seasoned broth.

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