Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Hokkaido Salmon Hotpot (Ishikari Nabe)

If you're wary of trying Japanese food, this could be for you. A really homely, comforting hotpot, with mild and delicate flavours, from the island of Hokkaido. Feel free to substitute other vegetables in it, or add tofu for extra protein.

And if you cook this and like it, you'll have the miso paste, you'll have the dashi stock (or you can make my simple dashi stock substitute)... so there's no reason not to have a go at the other Japanese soups below - trust me, if you like this, you'll love them too!

Hokkaido Salmon Hotpot (Ishikari Nabe)

This is a lovely, hearty, comforting soup/hotpot originating from the island of Hokkaido. It has a mild and delicate flavour, so if you’re unaccustomed to Japanese food, it’s a great place to start. Feel free to substitute vegetables, or add extra vegetables (such as mushrooms, squash, broccoli etc.) and if you want to up the protein content, you could also add 150g cubed tofu  (add 57 calories per serving).

If you want to make it into a meal, add 2 servings of shirataki (magic/zero) noodles – rinsed, snipped up and added to the soup for 2 minutes (an extra 4 calories each), or on a non-fasting day serve with a bowl of rice or add cubed potatoes to the soup, or ladle over a bowl with your favourite cooked noodles in it.

Serves two (easily doubled), 241 calories per serving


  • 150g salmon fillet, de-skinned and cut into bite-size pieces [276]
  • 600ml dashi stock* [6, if home-made, see my blog on making dashi stock, or a substitute]
  • 1 medium carrot (100g), peeled and cut into bite-size slices on the diagonal [26]
  • 100g mooli/daikon (Japanese white radish), peeled, quartered lengthways and cut into bite-size slices (if you can’t get hold of daikon, you could substitute normal radishes and slice them up) [16]
  • 150g chinese leaf/napa cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces [18]
  • 100g leek, sliced on the diagonal [27]
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed/grated [6]
  • 3 tbsp (medium) miso (or to taste - for gluten free / Paleo go for something like Clearspring's organic white miso, which is gluten/grain free) [36]
  • 1 tbsp sake (optional, skip for Paleo and clean eating, check labelling for GF - or use dry sherry) [21]
  • 1 tbsp mirin (optional, skip for Paleo and clean eating, substitute 1/2 tsp raw honey / a little stevia) [43]
  • 2 spring onions, sliced finely on the diagonal, to serve [6]

Put the carrots and mooli/daikon into a pan with the dashi stock, and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, and then add the rest of the vegetables and the garlic, put a lid on the pan and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes.

Take a ladleful of liquid out of the pan, and mix with the miso paste in a small bowl, until the miso is incorporated smoothly. Add back to the pan, with the sake and mirin (if using) and bring gently back to a simmer. Taste, and season if necessary, or add extra miso paste, then add the salmon and gently simmer for a couple of minutes until cooked through to your liking.

Serve in warmed bowls, and sprinkle with the sliced spring onions.

*or if you haven’t got dashi stock, use 3 sachets of miso soup (e.g. Yukatame brand [18 calories per sachet], 600ml water, plus 2-3 tsp miso only, or to taste [4 calories per tsp]). If you can’t get hold of either alternatives, you could use vegetable stock, and add a tablespoon or two of soy sauce to taste.

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