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Chanko Nabe Recipe

  • 14 min read

The word “nabe” means stew or soup in Japanese, but this dish is not actually served hot.

Chanko nabe is typically cooked at room temperature, making it a perfect comfort food to have on hand during colder months.

What Is Chanko Nabe?

Chanko nabe is a traditional Japanese recipe of braised chicken and vegetables that originated from Okinawa Island.

The dish was brought over to Japan by Okinawan immigrants who settled in Tokyo before World War II.

In Japan, chanko nabe is usually eaten as a main course, but can also be used as an ingredient for other dishes such as ramen noodle soups.

This dish is often referred to as “chicken and vegetable stew,” because its primary component is chicken meat, but it has many different variations depending on what type of meat you use and how much liquid you add to your pot.

How do I make chanko nabe?

  • First, cut up all of your chicken into bite-sized pieces so that they cook evenly.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet or wok and set it over medium heat until it becomes shimmering (see video below). Add in half of your chicken pieces and stir them around for about five minutes until they start to brown slightly.
  • Then remove your chicken from the pan and place it aside. Once the chicken is removed from the pan, pour some water into the same pan and bring it to a boil. When the water boils, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, return your chicken back to the pan along with any juices left behind. Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  • When the chicken is fully cooked through, turn off the stove and cover the pan with a lid. Let the chicken rest for 5 more minutes.
  • Once the chicken is finished resting, slice open the tops of each piece and scoop out the inside. This will allow the remaining chicken broth to soak deep into the meat.
  • Now that you have finished everything, mix together your desired amount of rice with the leftover chicken juice and serve immediately.

What Are The Ingredients In Chanko Nabe?

Chanko nabe consists of chicken (or other meat), rice, soy sauce, miso paste, bonito flakes, seaweed, dashi stock and some kind of vegetable or starch.

The exact combination varies from restaurant to restaurant, so there isn’t one set formula for how to create chanko nabe.

However, most restaurants will include all of these ingredients.

How Do You Make Chanko Nabe?

Chanko Nabe is a popular dish in Japan.

This traditional Japanese meal consists of chicken simmered slowly in broth along with other seasonings.

The most common flavor combination includes ginger, soy sauce, sake, mirin (sweet rice wine), sugar, sesame oil, and salt.

Some variations of chanko nabe include adding mushrooms, carrots, eggplant, green onions, tofu, nori seaweed, and konjac root.

To prepare chanko nabe, start by cutting up your meat into bite-sized pieces.

  • Add the chopped onion and garlic to a large pot over medium heat. Cook until fragrant.
  • Stir in the sliced carrot, celery, and julienned daikon radish. Continue cooking for about five minutes.
  • Now add water, sake, mirin, and sugar. Stir together well and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Next, stir in 1/4 cup flour and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Pour in some vegetable stock and mix thoroughly. Then pour the mixture back into the pot and continue cooking covered for 20 minutes more.
  • After 20 minutes, take out the lid and allow the liquid to reduce slightly.
  • In the meantime, cut up your chicken into small pieces. Add these to the pot as well.
  • Continue to cook the chanko nabe uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or so. By now, the mixture should be nice and thick. If it isn’t quite there yet, keep cooking for a few more minutes.
  • Once the chanko nabe has reached its desired consistency, remove from heat.
  • If you want to thicken further, whisk in cornstarch and then return to the stovetop to cook off any remaining moisture.
  • Serve chanko nabe piping hot!

What Is The History Of Chanko Nabe?

Chanko nabe was originally developed as an easy way to cook large amounts of meat in an economical fashion.

As Japan became more industrialized, people were able to find ways to use less expensive ingredients to create delicious dishes like this one.

The first written record of chanko nabe dates back to 1884 when a restaurant owner named Kato opened a shop in Tokyo called Usukiya (玉木屋).

While he originally sold other kinds of foods, his specialty was selling chanko nabe.

Kato started by serving only broth and rice, which he would slowly add various meats and veggies over time.

He eventually added egg noodles to his menu, which are now commonly found in many restaurants across Japan today.

In addition to being available all year round, most restaurants also serve it during warmer seasons too.

While there are no strict rules for what should be included in a chanko nabe, some common additions include pork shoulder, bonito flakes, green onion, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms.

People often also add seafood such as shrimp, octopus, squid, or fish depending on their region.

There are several different types of chanko nabe recipes out there, including ones that call for using bone marrow instead of bonito flakes.

Some chefs even go as far as adding eggs into the mix! You can read about how to make these variations here.

Why Is Chanko Nabe So Popular?

Chanko nabe has been around since ancient times when people would cook up large batches of rice and meat to last them through long winters.

The name of the dish came from its use as an alternative to miso soup because it was considered too rich to eat with just plain white rice.

There are two different types of chanko nabe recipes: one uses chicken thighs and another uses chicken breast fillets.

You can also find versions where you mix both kinds together, which makes for a more flavorful meal.

You will need to make both a stock and a sauce before you start cooking your chanko nabe dish.

For the stock, chop up some onions and carrots into small pieces and put them into a pot along with any other aromatic ingredients like ginger, garlic, bay leaves and soy sauce (if you want).

Add enough water to cover everything by about 1 inch.

Bring the stock to a boil then reduce the heat and let simmer until all of the liquid evaporates.

When the stock reduces down significantly, throw in the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and let them simmer until they get tender.

This should take anywhere between 15-20 minutes depending on how big your chicken breasts are.

Once the chicken is done, remove the bones and discard them.

At this point you may choose to add additional flavorings such as sesame oil, sake, mirin or shoyu (soy sauce) if you feel like it.

For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well.

Set aside while you prepare your chicken.

To serve, place 2 tablespoons of the sauce over each piece of chicken.

Then top each chicken thigh/breast with a handful of green onion, carrot, nori strips and bamboo shoots.

Serve immediately.

If you do not care about eating raw fish, you can skip the nori strips and bamboo shoots altogether.

Instead, simply sprinkle some extra seasoning onto the finished dish after you have placed the pieces of chicken back in their original spots.

How Many Calories Are In Chanko Nabe?

A single serving of chanko nabe has around 585 calories and 15 grams of protein.

For comparison, one cup of beef broth has 300 calories and 16 grams of protein.

You can eat as much as you want because there aren’t any servings included on the package!

What Are The Health Benefits Of Chanko Nabe?

Chanko nabe is an easy-to-prepare meal that can be enjoyed by everyone from kids to adults.

The ingredients used in the preparation include boneless skinless chicken breast pieces (which may also be cut into smaller chunks), carrots, potatoes, onions, green peppers, and cabbage leaves.

You can buy pre-cut veggies like these at your local grocery store, so you will only need to chop them up yourself if you want to make homemade versions.

There are no other added ingredients that would give away its nutritional value as far as vitamins or minerals go.

However, one serving of chanko nabe contains 5 grams of protein and 11 grams of carbohydrates, along with 10% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin B6 and folate.

If you enjoy meaty foods, then chunky dishes like chanko nabe are great options because they contain more proteins than their thin counterparts do.

According to the USDA Food Composition Database, beef has 3.7 grams per 100g while pork has 2.3 grams.

Chicken, however, comes out ahead with 4.5 grams per 100g.

You should always check what type of meats you eat before consuming them to avoid over-eating certain types of meat.

For example, some people tend to overeat lean cuts of red meat, which come with high amounts of saturated fat.

On the other hand, fatty cuts of meat such as bacon contain less saturated fats and are considered healthier choices.

If you don’t know how much fat you consume each day, use our nutrition calculator to find out!

Are There Any Risks Associated With Eating Chanko Nabe?

Chanko nabe is generally safe to eat when prepared correctly.

However, cooking this meal incorrectly could lead to some serious problems.

In fact, if you don’t know what you’re doing, then your chances of getting sick from eating chanko nabe will be higher than normal.

Here are some ways to prevent yourself from becoming ill after eating chanko nabe:

  • Follow instructions exactly as they were written by the author of the recipe.
  • Use fresh ingredients instead of frozen ones.
  • Don’t use MSG (monosodium glutamate) as an ingredient.
  • Avoid using canned foods.
  • Make sure to wash all surfaces before preparing the meal.
  • If possible, avoid eating out while eating this type of food.
  • Do not add anything extra like seasoning, sauces, etc., unless instructed to do so by the author of the recipe.

Is it okay to drink alcohol while eating chanko nabe?

No! Alcohol has been known to cause stomach issues.

If you want to enjoy a nice glass of wine or beer with dinner, try having them first thing in the morning.

How Can I Make A Healthier Version Of Chanko Nabe?

Chanko nabe is a traditional Japanese dish that is made by simmering boneless chicken thighs in broth along with various vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, burdock root (also known as the gobo), daikon radish, and enoki mushroom.

The ingredients are then simmered together until tender before being topped off with sesame seeds.

While you could certainly order a bowl from your favorite restaurant, we recommend taking matters into your own hands and creating your own homemade chanko nabe instead.

Not only will you save money, but you also get to customize what goes inside each serving so you can control exactly how much fat and calories you consume.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bone-in, skinless chicken thigh pieces
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 small head green cabbage cut into chunks
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Step 1: In a stockpot over high heat, bring 4 quarts of cold water to a boil. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and let cool slightly. Pour out the liquid from the pan and set aside.

Step 2: Place all remaining ingredients except for the chicken back into the pot and bring to a low boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Once the meat has cooled down enough to handle, remove the meat from its bones and add to the pot. Continue boiling for another 15 minutes.

Step 3: To serve, ladle the chunky mixture onto individual plates. Top each portion with sesame seeds and enjoy!

What Are Some Interesting Facts About Chanko N

There are two main versions of chanko nabe – one uses boneless, skinless chicken breast (or thighs) as the protein source and another version uses boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, sesame oil, mirin, sake, rice vinegar, kombu seaweed, and miso paste.

The flavors of these different types of chanko nabe vary from region to region in Japan.

For example, the boneless, skinless chicken thigh version is more popular in western regions like Kyoto, while the boneless, skinless chicken breast version is most common in eastern regions such as Tokyo and Osaka.

In addition to being delicious, chanko nabe also has many health benefits.

The combination of vegetables, proteins, and grains makes chanko nabe an excellent choice for people looking to add variety to their diet.

In fact, chanko nabe was once considered a poor man’s meal because it contains all three primary food groups: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

One of the best things about chanko nabe is how versatile it is.

You can prepare it however you want by mixing and matching your favorite ingredients.

Here are some ideas for tasty ways to put together your own chanko nabe dinner.

  • Add mushrooms, carrots, scallions, and/or spinach to your chanko nabe broth before serving.
  • Top your chanko nabe with shredded cabbage, grated daikon radish, nori sheets, sliced green onions, or thinly-cut cucumber strips.
  • Serve chanko nabe over steamed white rice.
  • Spoon chanko nabe into bowls and top each bowl with crushed peanuts, fried shallots, dried shrimp, or chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Make chanko nabe using leftover roasted meats instead of raw chicken.

Chanko Nabe Recipe

Chanko nabe is typically cooked at room temperature, making it a perfect comfort food to have on hand during colder months.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Chanko Nabe Recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 336kcal

Equipment

  • Pot

Ingredients

Homemade Meat Balls:

  • 500 g chicken
  • 2 stocks green onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger freshly grated
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch optional

Stock:

  • 5 cups Chicken Stock salted
  • 2 thin slices of Ginger
  • 3 Garlic grated

Vegetable Toppings:

  • Napa Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Shemiji mushroom
  • Shiitake Mushroom
  • Enoki Mushroom

Instructions

  • Ground pork or chicken, freshly grated ginger, chopped green onions, white pepper, soy sauce, one egg, sesame oil, and cornstarch should be combined (optional). Give it a 20-minute break.
  • Add chicken stock, minced ginger, and grated garlic to a saucepan. Set the heat to medium-high and simmer the dish for ten minutes.
  • Individual 1.5 tbsp meatballs should be made, then placed aside.
  • The soup should be topped off with all of the vegetables before simmering.
  • Then add the meatballs, and cook for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until the meatballs are done.
  • Serve alone or with additional toppings like more veggies, pieces of pork belly, or shellfish on a portable cooktop.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 2237mg | Potassium: 847mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 140IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg
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