Shabu shabu is Japanese for DIY hot pot awesomeness. 

It's the dinner party your friends cook themselves. 

Here's why you should fire up the portable stove and get a nabe of steaming broth ready next time you're hankering for something homey, tasty and fun.

It's easy. Making your own broth is a snap (see the recipe). The only other prep: Shopping for the vegetables (bok choy, enoki mushrooms), tofu and thinly sliced rolls of beef and pork (check out Asian markets for shabu-ready meat selections).   

It's pretty. Nancy Singleton Hachisu, author of Japanese Farm Food calls shabu shabu "gorgeous." 

"It has the winter colors," she says. "The dark green of bok choy, the red from the beautiful marbled meat, the soft greens of the negi [Japanese spring onion], the pottery and platters."


Check out our shabu gear guide, with everything from a rustic, earthenware donabe to gold-status chopsticks.

It's endlessly customizable. We skip the bottled sauces and make our own blood orange ponzu sauce (see the recipe), miso-tahini sauce (see the recipe) and a spicy chile oil that suggests the dish's Mongolian hot pot roots (see the recipe). 

It satisfies. When the platters are scraped clean and the shabu shabu's still bubbling, dump udon noodles into the enriched, fat-slicked dashi. Split the noodles and soup among your friends and end the night to the sound of happy slurping.