Every nation with a coastline seems to have its own bouillabaisse or seafood stew, and the Japanese are no exception. Yosé nabé means “gathering pot” and it’s a soul-satisfying meeting of fish, shellfish, and vegetables in a bubbling broth. Use your most attractive casserole for the quick kitchen cooking and bring it to the table piping hot.
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail section intact. Cut the fish fillets into bite-sized pieces. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and save the stems for enriching stock, if you wish, or discard. Wipe the caps with a damp cloth, being sure to remove all gritty material. Slice any large mushrooms into halves or quarters, holding your knife at a 45-degree angle to your board.
Slice the undressed Cabbage and Spinach Roll into twelve pieces. Or rinse the fresh kale well under cold water, then tie the stems together with kitchen twine. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil and place the kale bundle in it for 10 seconds. Drain immediately and rinse the kale under cold water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out all excess water, trim away the tied stems, and cut the kale bundles into 2-inch lengths.
Soak the cellophane noodles in warm water for 20 minutes, then drain and, if you like, cut the noodles into
If you have a flower- or maple-leaf-shaped vegetable cutter, use it to trim the carrot rounds. The five-petaled plum blossom is a common motif in the winter months, while the maple leaf is usually reserved for the fall. Or leave the carrots in rounds.
Combine the broth ingredients in an attractive ready-to-serve casserole and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer adding the scallions carrots, and fresh kale, if you’re using it. Cook the vegetables for 3–4 minutes. Add the fresh shiitaké or other mushrooms. Next add the pieces of fish fillets, one at a time. Cook for 1 minute, skimming away any froth from the surface. Add the shrimp, and cook for 30 seconds before removing the pot from the source of heat. Add the cellophane noodles and fit the pieces of Cabbage and Spinach Roll into the pot, submerging them beneath the bubbling liquid. Cover the casserole and bring to the table immediately.
The table is best set with shallow bowls (or deeply flanged plates), chopsticks, and spoons (for drinking the broth, if you don’t want to drink directly from your bowl or plate as the Japanese do). All the diners help themselves to bits from the communal pot. A ladle might be helpful in dishing out the broth.
© 1985 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.