Hauling out is an endeavor even when it’s just routine, but when it’s chilly outside and you really have to stay on your unheated boat hotpots are the only answer.
Umineko rested high above the Brewerton Boatyard. Her engine needed some work before the sea cat returned to her salty home.
Brisk would be an understatement for the chill air. Our breath billowed out in clouds of steam, not a terribly fun thing when you are on a boat “built to sail in warmer climates” (translation: no heater on board). And as the sun sank the temperature dropped.
“Hotpot” Sato San suggested. I was all for it.
Hot pots, or nabe, are normal “student” food in Japan. It’s easy to make, filling, and healthy. I didn’t believe Tanaka San, our crew-mate when he told me it was easy, it looked so complicated and involved but the more hot pots I make the easier it gets. I suppose everything is easy once you know how to do it. Hot pots are marvelous for but warming the stomach on a cold night.
This is a Kombu hot pot, with kombu soup stock, seaweed soup stock, as the star of the show.
- Portable burner*
- Large, deep skillet
- Ladle with holes
- 2 T sake
- 2 T kombu soup stock
- 1 t katsuo dashi (bonito fish powder)
- 6 c water
- 7 pepper seasoning
- Chinese Cabbage chopped into 3-4’ segments
- 3 Leeks chopped into 3-4’ segments
- 1 bunch Green onion (chopped into 3-4’ segments)
- Whatever other vegetables you have on hand
- 4 uncooked mochi squares
- ½ c Sliced squid
- ½ c Imitation crab
- ½ c Scallops
- ¼ c finely chopped scallions for garnish
- 2-3 packages of ramen noodles
- Place mochi squares and ½ of chopped vegetables in large deep skillet or pan, setting aside ½ of chopped veggies in a bowl on the table
- Pour in water, until vegetables covered
- Add kombu and katsuo dashi, and sake simmer (covered) 5 minutes.
- Add imitation crab, and scallops and simmer 2 minutes
- Add squid
- Ladle out 2 cups of broth into bowl and set aside
- Transfer to portable burner in the middle of table and turn to low flame.
- Every person at the table puts 1-2 T kombu soup stock, and/or ponzu, and 7 chili seasoning in his or her bowl (to taste)
- Ladle hot pot “soup” into bowls.
- Sprinkle scallions over bowls
- Enjoy, continuing to add ingredients to your bowl until skillet is almost emptied of ingredients and just delicious soup stock is left
- Add remainder of vegetables and allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes
- Continue eating until veggies are almost gone. By this time the broth has become unbelievably flavorful.
- Add remainder of stock set aside before round 1
- Bring to a boil
- Add ramen
- Allow to cook for 3 minutes
- Serve final broth and ramen
I rarely make it as far as round 3, filling up on all of the veggies and seafood is usually enough for me.
Alternately you can save the broth for breakfast or lunch the next day with rice or noodles.
*If you do not have a portable burner on your boat I highly recommend getting one. It is a great back-up in case your propane runs out in the middle of cooking dinner. This way you can continue cooking dinner without having to change the propane tank first. It is also great to take to the beach etc.