A Comprehensive Guide to Yosenabe: What It Is, How to Prepare It, and More

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Nabemono (鍋物, なべ物, nabe “cooking pot” + mono “thing or things, object, matter”) or simply called nabe, refers to a variety of Japanese hot pot dishes, also known as one pot dishes.

Yosenabe is a traditional Japanese hot pot dish that originated from the fishing villages of Japan. It’s made with a variety of ingredients, usually seafood, fresh vegetables, and firm tofu. The dish is cooked in a broth called “dashi” made from dried seaweed and bonito flakes.

Let’s look at the history of yosenabe, the ingredients, and how to prepare it.

What is yosenabe

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What is Yosenabe?

Yosenabe is a hot pot dish that originated in Japan. The word “yose” means to combine or mix, while “nabe” means pot. So, yosenabe basically means a pot of mixed ingredients.

The Ingredients

Yosenabe is a main dish that is made up of a variety of ingredients, usually seafood and fresh vegetables. The dish is pretty easy to prepare, and there are many types of ingredients that can be added to it. Some of the basic ingredients include:

  • Firm tofu
  • Thinly cut meat (beef, chicken, or pork)
  • Seafood (shrimp, squid, scallops, clams, etc.)
  • Fresh vegetables (cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, etc.)
  • Stock or dashi (Japanese soup stock)
  • Soy sauce or miso paste (for flavoring)
  • Tare sauce (a type of dipping sauce)

The Preparation

To make yosenabe, you bring a large pot of dashi or stock to a boil. Then, you add the ingredients to the pot and let them cook for a few minutes. The dish is usually served with a dipping sauce called tare, which is made by combining soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar.

The Different Types of Yosenabe

There are many different types of yosenabe, each with its own set of ingredients and flavour profile. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Seafood yosenabe: This version of the dish is made with a variety of seafood, including shrimp, squid, scallops, and clams.
  • Vegetable yosenabe: This version of the dish is made with a variety of fresh vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms.
  • Miso yosenabe: This version of the dish is flavoured with miso paste, which gives it a rich, savoury flavour.
  • Chicken yosenabe: This version of the dish is made with chicken and a variety of fresh vegetables.

The Ultimate Comfort Food

Yosenabe is a popular dish in Japan, and for good reason. It’s a hearty, filling dish that is perfect for cold winter nights. The dish is also pretty easy to make, so it’s a great choice for a weeknight dinner.

So, if you’re looking for a new, easy-to-make dish to add to your recipe collection, give yosenabe a try!

The History of Yosenabe

Yosenabe has been around for centuries and has evolved over time. Originally, it was a simple dish made with just vegetables and seafood. Today, there are many different types of yosenabe, each with their own unique ingredients and preparation styles.

The Tare Sauce in Yosenabe

Unlike other hot pot dishes, yosenabe is not served with a dipping sauce. Instead, the sauce is combined with the ingredients in the pot. The sauce, called “tare,” is made with soy sauce, miso, or other ingredients, depending on the type of yosenabe being made. The tare sauce is what gives yosenabe its unique flavor.

Yosenabe (Hot Pot)

Yosenabe is a Japanese hot pot dish that is a combination of various ingredients cooked in a clay pot. The dish is named after the technique of combining different ingredients, which is called “yose.” The dish is also known as nabe, which means “pot” in Japanese.

How to Prepare Yosenabe

Preparing yosenabe is pretty simple and straightforward. Here’s how you can prepare it:

  • First, prepare the ingredients by cutting them into bite-sized pieces. You can use a knife or a kitchen tool called a “nakiri” to cut the ingredients.
  • Next, bring a large pot of dashi stock to a boil. You can use a package of dashi stock or make your own by combining dried bonito flakes, kombu, and water.
  • Once the stock is boiling, add the ingredients to the pot. Start with the heartier ingredients, such as meat and root vegetables, and add the more delicate ingredients, such as seafood and leafy greens, later.
  • Cover the pot and let the ingredients cook for a few minutes. The cooking time will depend on the type of ingredients you’re using. For example, seafood and sliced meat will cook faster than firm vegetables.
  • Once the ingredients are cooked, pour the dipping sauce over the dish and serve it at the table. You can also add some solid ingredients, such as tofu or udon noodles, to the pot and let them cook for a few minutes before serving.

Ingredients and Substitutes

The ingredients used in yosenabe can vary depending on the type of dish you’re making. Here are some of the common ingredients used in yosenabe:

  • Seafood: shrimp, squid, fish, scallops, clams
  • Meat: chicken, pork, beef
  • Vegetables: mushrooms, tofu, napa cabbage, carrots, daikon radish, scallions
  • Dipping Sauce: soy sauce-based “tare” or miso-based sauce

If you’re worried about the fat content in meat or seafood, you can substitute them with tofu or other plant-based protein sources. You can also freeze tofu before using it in yosenabe to increase its firmness and texture.

Serving and Eating Yosenabe

Yosenabe is usually served at the table, and everyone can help themselves to the ingredients. Here are some tips on how to eat yosenabe:

  • Use chopsticks or a fork to grab the ingredients from the pot.
  • Dip the ingredients in the dipping sauce before eating them.
  • Don’t worry about cutting the ingredients into pretty pieces. Yosenabe is a rustic dish, and the ingredients can be cut into smaller or larger pieces depending on your preference.
  • If the ingredients appear tough or undercooked, use a knife or kitchen tool to cut them into smaller pieces and let them cook for a few more minutes.

Yosenabe is a heartwarming dish that is perfect for cold weather or a cozy night in. Try making it at home and enjoy the variety of flavors and textures combined in one dish. Don’t forget to share your yosenabe creations on social media by clicking the Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter ad below.

How to Prepare Yosenabe

Preparing yosenabe is a bit of work, but it’s easy if you have the right tools and ingredients. Here’s what you need:

  • A large pot or donabe (earthenware pot) to cook the stew
  • A portable stove (like the Iwatani propane burner) to heat the pot
  • A slotted spoon to remove the ingredients from the pot
  • A fine-mesh strainer to strain the dashi
  • Different kinds of seafood (such as Manila clams, scallops, and mussels)
  • Firm tofu, sliced into medium pieces
  • Chicken thighs, sliced into thin pieces
  • Vegetables (such as Napa cabbage, chrysanthemum leaves, and enoki mushrooms)
  • Awase dashi (a soup stock made from kombu and katsuobushi)
  • Soy sauce
  • Sake
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Yuzu or lemon, sliced
  • Shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend)

Steps to Assemble and Cook Yosenabe

Once you have all the necessary tools and ingredients, it’s time to start prepping and cooking:

1. Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and set them aside.
2. Heat the pot or donabe over medium heat and add the dashi, soy sauce, and sake.
3. Add the chicken and seafood to the pot and let them cook for a few minutes until they are almost done.
4. Add the vegetables to the pot and let them cook for a few minutes until they are tender.
5. Add the tofu to the pot and let it cook for a few minutes until it’s heated through.
6. Once everything is cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to cool down a bit.
7. Serve the yosenabe in individual dishes, garnished with sliced green onions, yuzu or lemon, and shichimi togarashi.

Tips for a Great Yosenabe

  • Use a mix of seafood and meat to add different flavors and textures to the stew.
  • Cut the ingredients into similar sizes to ensure even cooking.
  • Use a variety of vegetables to add color and nutrition to the dish.
  • Use a high-quality dashi to enhance the flavor of the stew.
  • Don’t overcook the ingredients, as they will become mushy and lose their texture.
  • Enjoy the yosenabe with a bowl of steamed rice and a cold beer or sake.

Sake Pairing with Mio

Sake is a unique alcoholic drink that is produced by fermenting rice. The production process involves a mold called koji, which helps convert the starch in the rice into sugar. The degree of rice polishing and the type of rice used are the main elements that determine the flavor profile of the sake. There are different types of sakes, ranging from pure rice sakes to sparkling sakes.

Sake pairing is similar to wine pairing, where the goal is to achieve a perfect balance between the flavors of the food and the drink. However, sake pairing requires a bit more attention to detail because of the complex and unique flavors of sake.

Why Mio is a Perfect Pairing for Yosenabe

Mio is a sparkling sake that is highly recommended for yosenabe. It has a slightly sweet and savory flavor profile that brings out the best in the ingredients of yosenabe. Here are some reasons why Mio is a perfect pairing for yosenabe:

  • Mio has a fine and delicate flavor profile that doesn’t overpower the flavors of the food.
  • The sparkling element of Mio adds a refreshing and cold element to the hot yosenabe dish.
  • Mio contains a lower alcohol concentration compared to regular sakes, making it easier to drink and enjoy with friends.
  • The sugar and fermentable elements in Mio complement the savory flavors of yosenabe.

How to Serve and Eat Yosenabe

When it comes to serving yosenabe, it’s important to create the right setting. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Use a large, clay pot to cook the yosenabe and serve it at the center of the table.
  • Make sure you have plenty of chopsticks and bowls for everyone.
  • If you have an electric hot pot tool, use it to keep the yosenabe hot during the meal.
  • Set out some pickled vegetables and white rice as side dishes.

Portioning and Serving

Yosenabe is a communal dish, so it’s important to serve it in a way that everyone can enjoy. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Start by adding the ingredients to the pot in layers, starting with the firmest foods (like meat and root vegetables) and finishing with the most delicate (like seafood and leafy greens).
  • Once the yosenabe is cooked, use a ladle to portion it out into individual bowls.
  • Make sure everyone gets a good mix of ingredients and some of the flavorful broth.
  • Serve the pickled vegetables and rice on the side to balance out the flavors.

Enjoying Yosenabe

Now that you have your yosenabe in front of you, it’s time to dig in! Here are some tips for enjoying this delicious dish:

  • Use your chopsticks to pick out the ingredients you want to eat.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match different flavors and textures.
  • Try dipping your ingredients in a mixture of soy sauce and dashi for extra flavor.
  • If you want to add some sweetness to your yosenabe, try adding some sliced sweet potato or kabocha squash.
  • Continue to add ingredients to the pot as you eat to keep the meal going longer.
  • If you’re not sure what to do, ask the people around you for guidance. Yosenabe is a communal dish, so it’s meant to be enjoyed together.


So there you have it, the history of yosenabe, a Japanese hot pot dish that’s perfect for a cold winter night. It’s easy to make and great for a weeknight dinner.  I hope you’ve learned something new today and can’t wait to try it out!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.