Soy Milk Hot Pot with Chicken has a creamy soy milk broth that has a hint of natural sweetness from the soy milk. It has a rich and mellow taste, but it is made with the simplest flavouring ingredients.
Hot Pot is a great way of consuming many different kinds of vegetables without getting overwhelmed by the sheer volume of them. When the air temperature starts dropping and I need to turn on my heater first thing in the morning, I think of hot pot dishes.
As I mentioned in my post, Broccoli and Soy Milk Soup, I am not a fan of soy milk as a beverage, but I have become a fan of dishes cooked in soy milk.
About Soy Milk Hot Pot
Soy Milk Hot Pot is called ‘tōnyū nabe‘ (豆乳鍋) in Japanese. The word ‘tōnyū‘ (豆乳) means soy milk and ‘nabe‘ (鍋) is hot pot.
The ingredients that go into Tōnyū Nabe can be chicken, pork, fish, root vegetables, leafy vegetables, and tofu products. Beef is not as commonly used in Tōnyū Nabe as white meats.
Today’s dish, Soy Milk Hot Pot with Chicken, is not one of the traditional hot pot dishes that are often associated with a long history of local cuisine such as Negima Nabe and Ishikari Nabe. It only started appearing after year 2000.
As the consumer demand for soy milk increased and soy milk became a trend among the health-conscious people in Japan, Soy Milk Hot Pot became established as a popular hot pot dish, especially among women.
Varieties of Soy Milk Hot Pot
These days there are many flavour variations to the soy milk broth. The simplest of all is just a mixture of dashi stock and soy milk with a small amount of seasoning. This is what I made today. It allows you to enjoy the subtle sweetness and the soy milk flavour in the broth.
Other flavourings include sesame flavour, miso flavour, and chilli flavour. Some of them have a combination of these flavours in one pot, making it a rich and spicy broth. I will introduce a sesame flavoured Soy Milk Hot Pot (see a sneak peek of it below) sometime soon.
The protein added to the Soy Milk Hot Pot also varies, but the most popular proteins used are chicken and pork.
In the case of pork, very thinly sliced shabu shabu pork is very popular, simply because the pork slices are so quick to cook and add a good flavour to the broth. Thinly sliced pork belly is great too. The extra fat makes the broth much richer.
You can also make chicken or pork meatballs and cook them in the broth.
Just like many other hot pot dishes, there are a wide range of vegetables that you can cook in Soy Milk Hot Pot. In general, the vegetables that do not have very strong flavours go well with the soy milk broth.
What’s in My Soy Milk Hot Pot with Chicken
Hot Pot Ingredients
- Chicken thigh or breast fillets cut into bite-size pieces
- Chinese cabbage cut into strips
- Carrot cut into thin planks
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Shimeji Mushrooms separated into small clusters
- Aburaage cut into thin strips
- Tofu cut into large bite-size cubes
- Green onion cut into diagonal pieces
As stated in the previous section, you can vary the combination of vegetables. Mushrooms can be just one kind or other species of mushrooms, but I think that Asian mushrooms are better suited when it comes to a hot pot dish. Because the broth is based on soy milk and tofu is actually made from soy milk, they go very well together. They enrich the flavour of the dish.
Soy Milk Broth
- Dashi stock
- Light soy sauce
- Soy milk
If you have a bottle of shiro dashi in your pantry/fridge, you can use a short cut by diluting shiro dashi with water in replace of dashi stock, mirin, and light soy sauce.
How to Make Soy Milk Hot Pot with Chicken
- Prepare meat and vegetables.
- Put the Soy Milk Broth ingredients, excluding soy milk, in a bowl and mix.
- Place chicken pieces and all the vegetables, excluding the leafy parts of Chinese cabbage and the green onions, clustering each ingredient together.
- Pour the broth in the bowl into the serving pot with ingredients and cook until the chicken and vegetables are almost cooked through.
- Add the rest of the vegetables to the pot and cook for a minute or two until they are wilted.
- Add the soy milk to the pot and gently mix. When it starts boiling, turn the heat off.
I used a traditional Japanese clay pot called ‘donabe’ (土鍋), which is great as a serving pot. It also retains heat well. If you have a thick metal pot or cast-iron pot, that would be the best alternative.
Notes about Eating Soy Milk Hot Pot with Chicken
Soy milk curdles when it is heated because of the transformation of the protein included in the milk. Although nothing is wrong with curds and you don’t need to remove it, unlike scum, it is not visually attractive.
This is the reason why I add the soy milk at the end and serve the hot pot ready to eat, instead of cooking the hot pot for a long period of time at the table. You will still get some curds but not as much as boiling the soy milk for a long time.
There is no dipping sauce for today’s hot pot. You are meant to take the meat and vegetables with the Soy Milk Broth from the serving pot into the individual bowl to eat it.
After you finish eating the meat and vegetables, you can add cooked udon noodles or sōmen noodles (see the recipe, Somen) with some chopped green onions to finish the meal. You can also add rice and make a creamy porridge.
The broth of most Japanese hot pot dishes is either soy-based or miso-based since soy sauce and miso are very traditional pantry essentials. I was very surprised to know that soy milk and the typical dashi broth go so well with no incompatibility. I am kind of addicted to it.
Soy Milk Hot Pot with Chicken (Tōnyū Nabe) is a hot pot with a creamy soy milk broth that has a hint of natural sweetness from the soy milk. Today’s Soy Milk Hot Pot has a rich and mellow taste, but it is made with the simplest flavouring ingredients.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 200g/7.1oz chicken thigh fillets cut into large bite-size pieces(note 1)
- 300g/10.6oz Chinese cabbage
- 60g/2.1oz carrot
- 2 shiitake mushrooms (about 30-40g/1.1-1.4oz in total, note 2)
- 40g/1.4oz shimeji mushrooms (note 2)
- 1 sheet aburaage
- ½ pack momen tofu (150g)
- 70g/2.5oz green onion
Chinese cabbage: Trim off the end of the stem and cut the leaves perpendicular to the direction of the leaf into 3cm/1⅛" wide strips.
Carrot: Slice into 4-5cm/1½-2" long, 2-2.5cm/¾-1" wide, and 3mm/⅛" thick planks.
Shiitake mushrooms: Trim the end of the stem off. You may want to decorate the cap by making cross incisions, then make V-shape cuts along these lines.
If the cap is large, halve or quarter the mushroom so that it is not too large to eat.
Shimeji mushrooms: Trim the cluster base and separate the mushrooms into small clusters.
Aburaage: Cut it crosswise into 1.5cm/⅝" wide strips.
Tofu: cut into 4 equal blocks.
Green onion: Diagonally slice the stems into 5-7cm/2-2¾" long pieces.
Mix dashi stock, mirin, and light soy sauce in a bowl (note 5).
Place chicken pieces, the stem part of the Chinese cabbage pieces, carrots, mushrooms, tofu, and the white part of green onion pieces in the pot (note 6), clustering each ingredient together.
Pour the dashi broth in a bowl over the ingredients in the service pot, place a lid on and bring it to a boil. When it starts boiling, remove the lid.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until chicken pieces and the vegetables are almost cooked. You may need to jiggle ingredients, particularly the meat, a bit to submerge the uncooked parts in the broth.
Add the remaining Chinese cabbage leaves and the green onions to the pot, gently push downwards to get to the broth level. Cook for a minute or so.
When the cabbage leaves and green onion pieces start wilting, add soy milk to the pot and gently stir without breaking the clustered vegetables. If you jiggle the meat/vegetables with your chopsticks/spoon in various places, the milk will mix.
When the broth starts bubbling around the edge, reduce the heat to low. When the broth starts boiling, turn the heat off (note 7).
Bring the pot to the centre of the table with a ladle and serve with individual small bowls.
To eat, transfer some meat and vegetables with the soy milk broth from the serving pot into your bowl. (note 8)
1. I used skinless thigh fillets, but you can use skin-on fillets or even breast fillet.
2. Any Asian mushrooms can work for this hot pot. Other mushrooms you may use includes enoki mushrooms, pearl oyster mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, or white shimeji mushrooms. It is good to have different shapes/colours of mushrooms if you can.
3. I used light soy sauce so that the broth can maintain the white colour of the soy milk. If you only have normal soy sauce, that’s OK.
4. I give a range for the quantity of soy milk. Depending on your palate, you can adjust the quantity.
5. You could mix the broth in the pot directly, then place the meat and vegetables in it. But I find that by placing meat and vegetables in the pot without liquid it is easier to cluster the ingredients.
6. I used a Japanese clay pot specifically made for hot pot. It is called ‘donabe’ (土鍋) and I often use it in my hot pot recipes (see today’s Meal Ideas). Donabe retains the heat very well. The best alternative is a thick metal pot or a cast-iron pot.
7. Do not boil the broth too long once soy milk is added. Soy milk curdles when it is heated because of the transformation of the protein in the milk.
If you are using a pot that can retain heat extremely well, such as donabe (clay pot), you can even turn the heat of when the broth starts bubbling just around the edge. This is because the broth will continue to cook even after removing the pot from the heat.
8. After you finish eating the meat and vegetables, you can add cooked udon noodles with some chopped green onions to finish the meal.
9. Nutrition per serving, assuming that you drank 1/2 of the soy milk broth.
serving: 632g calories: 460kcal fat: 28g (36%) saturated fat: 6.3g (32%) trans fat: 0.1g polyunsaturated fat: 8.1g monounsaturated fat: 11g cholesterol: 96mg (32%) sodium: 1115mg (48%) carbohydrates: 19g (7%) dietary fibre: 5.3g (19%) sugar: 12g protein: 36g vitamin D: 1mcg (6%) calcium: 594mg (46%) iron: 5.2mg (29%) potassium: 1258mg (27%)