Happy Donabe Life

Sea Bream Shabu Shabu

Tai Shabu

Spring really makes me want to eat Tai (sea bream) every day. I enjoy it in sashimi, carpaccio, sushi, etc. And, here’s another Tai dish I love, which is Tai Shabu. It’s basically a simple fish shabu shabu and always so good. If you can save enough broth, hope you enjoy the shime (finishing) noodle course, too.


Classic-style Donabe Medium or larger

In this photo, I used 3 rice-cup size Kamado-san donabe. Any donabe with enough depth can be used for this recipe.


3 - 4


  • 1.2-qt (1.2 liter) water
  • 2 pieces (2” x 4”/ 5 cm x 10 cm each) kombu
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) sake, optional
  • 1 lb (450 g) sashimi grade Tai (sea bream) fillet, skin on (can be substituted with your choice of white fish
  • 6 medium napa cabbage, cut into large bite-size pieces
  • 5 oz (150 g) oyster mushrooms
  • 6 oz (180 g) rehydrated wakame, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 green onions, cut thinly at a long angle
  • 14 oz (400 g) soft tofu, cut into 8 – 9 pieces
  • Some ponzu
  • Some finely grated daikon, mixed with Kanzuri (chili paste from Niigata), optional


  1. In a donabe, combine the water and kombu and soak for 30 min or so. Set over medium-heat and bring to a simmer. Remove the kombu. Add the sake.
  2. Meanwhile, wrap each fish fillet with paper towel and place on a strainer, in a single layer skin side up. Bring water to a boil and pour over the fish once. This will par cook just the skin and make the texture better. Remove the paper towel and immediately transfer the fillets to a bowl of ice water. 
  3. Pat dry the fillets and cut into thin slices. Set all the other ingredients ready in platters, too.
  4. Set the donabe on a table-top stove at a table. Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add some of the napa cabbage, mushrooms, and tofu and cook for a few minutes. Add the green onions and take a slice (or more if you like) of Tai and swish until the fish is cooked to your desired doneness. Dip in the ponzu and some grated daikon/ kanzuri mixture to enjoy. Keep cooking these ingredients until finished.

Shime (Finishing Course: Optional)

If you like to enjoy the shime (finishing course), make sure to save some broth and season with a splash of soy sauce and some sea salt. Add par-cooked somen or your choice of noodle. Enjoy with the broth.

All the ingredients are ready.

Set the donabe on a tabletop stove at a table.

Cook the napa cabbage, mushrooms, and tofu first.

For sashimi-grade Tai, I like to cook just for a brief time, and enjoy with ponzu.

Wakame is such a tasty ingredient for shabu shabu, too.

For the shime (finishing course), I like somen noodle (with some salt-preserved cherry blossom flowers from Japan…optional).


Suggested Tools and Tableware

Ingredients Used in this Recipe

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