Friday, November 4, 2011

Shabu Shabu + Gruner Veltliner, What A Pairing!

On November 2nd Beau and I took part in a grüner veltliner tasting with the "#winechat" folks on Twitter. My job was to figure out a suitable food pairing for the grüner veltliners lineup. We had almost settled on doing something with shrimp and rice when a huge light bulb lit up in my head and the words "shabu shabu" flashed into my mind; I knew then what we were going to make.

For those who are unfamiliar with what shabu shabu is, here is a brief description: it is a Japanese style of a hot pot where you have a hot broth that you use to cook meats and veggies.

We took a trip over to a local Asian grocer called Uwajimaya to find our meats and produce. I could literally spend hours in this store, it gives me that "kid in a candy store" feeling. Each of the four locations is stocked full of unique goods, beautiful produce, a fantastic meat counter, and a stunning sea food selection.

During our excursion at Uwajimaya we collected carrots, potato, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, scallions, Carlton Farms bacon, thinly sliced grass fed beef, thinly sliced pork, chicken broth and rice noodles. We also picked up a variety of sauces such as hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sweet chili pepper sauce, and a black bean garlic sauce.

To get started, Beau did the dirty work of de-veining the shrimp. Next, we broiled bacon strips and shrimp to have with the first few grüner veltliners. The bacon was flat like a plank, with a pink shrimp perched on top, and it went with the grüner veltliner perfectly. Gruner is a very food friendly wine, specifically with lighter foods which is why shabu shabu was a great choice for this tasting.

When prepping food for shabu shabu, it is important to slice the produce and meats thin so they are easy to cook in the broth.

The way shabu shabu works is that you have a very hot broth that you essentially cook your meats and vegetables in. This makes a fondue pot or a hot pot VERY handy. I had access to neither so I used a pot that I would bring to a boil then would bring to the table for us to cook our meats and veggies in. Once the broth had cooled a little bit, I would bring it back to a boil on the stove then bring it back to the table. Tedious yes, but it did the task! A small wire basket came in handy for adding and removing cooked pieces from the broth.

This meal was a very fun meal to make and it was fun to enjoy at the dinner table while sipping on a line up of eight grüner veltliners. We found that the grüner veltliner was a great match for this entire dish, specifically when the meat or veggie was dipped in hoisen sauce. Its extremely easy to get creative with this recipe by using a variety of meats and veggies. The key to shabu shabu is to keep the broth hot and the ingredients thinly sliced.


  1. I had a dish similar to this in a Vietnamese restaurant and it was fantastic. I may have to try this one day.

  2. This was a fun dinner to do. Do you know what the Vietnamese dinner was called that you had?