Cook the Book keeps me on my toes, culinarily speaking. Each week, the featured cookbook dictates not only what I am going to cook but where I will do my food shopping. This week's Japanese Hot Pots by chef Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat had me headed to the Japanese supermarket. Though I love pretty much all grocery shopping, Japanese markets are some of my favorite places to shop—all of those fascinating ingredients, the cute packaging, and the insanely appealing prepared.
After gathering all of my supplies, I made two stocks that will serve as foundations for all the hot pots this week. The first was a classic Dashi, or preserved kelp and bonito flakes steeped in water, then strained. And the second, Japanese Chicken Stock, which is just chicken wings and bones boiled in water (nothing else). The stocks used for Japanese hot pots are clean, simple bases, not meant to be used on their own. Instead, they should be flavored in the second round of cooking by other ingredients that get tossed into the hot pot.
We are kicking off Japanese Hot Pot week by sharing recipes for two of the most basic stocks, which will act as foundations for all of your hot pot recipes this week. These stocks are miles away from their Western counterparts—the flavors are much lighter and and less concentrated than the stocks you might be familiar with, but they are just right for a hot pot.
Win 'Japanese Hot Pots'
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Japanese Hot Pots to give away this week.
- 8 cups water, plus 2 tablespoons water
- 2 (6-inch) pieces kombu
- 1 1/2 ounces dried, shaved bonito (about 3 cups, packed)
- 1 pound chicken bones and wings (roughly chop the ribcage, if using)
- 12 cups water, plus more for boiling the bones
Add 8 cups of water and the kombu to a large stockpot and let it steep for 30 minutes.
Place the stockpot over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Remove the kombu. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Add the bonito and stir it once to mix in. As soon as the liquid boils again, decrease the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove any scum that appears on the surface; it can affect the flavor.
Japanese Chicken Stock
- makes about 8 cups -
Return the bones to the pot. Add the 12 cups of water and bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat the medium and simmer until the stick reduces to approximately 8 cups, about 30 minutes. As it cooks, check the stock at regular intervals to remove any scum the appears on the surface. Strain the liquid and discard any bones.