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2009/7/22

It’s been an unseasonably cool summer where I live, in western New York state. (Or so I’ve been told. To me, 80 is more than hot enough to turn me into a puddle of sweating goo.) That being the case, we’ve not eaten much traditional Japanese summer fare yet this year. In my mind, Japan seems to have a lot of seasonal dishes. My favorite for summer is probably zaru soba–cold buckwheat noodles served with a sauce for dipping. My wife can down a heaping plateful of zaru soba faster than a drunk college kid can wolf down a large pizza. I think her stomach is some kind of trans-dimensional portal.

Earlier this week, I caught sight of an intriguing summer recipe at a Japan culture blog I recently started following. Tokyo Kawaii, Etc. posted instructions for making cold shabu-shabu. For the uninitiated: regular shabu-shabu is a sort of “social” dish. A large bowl of boiled water sits on a hot plate in the center of the table, and a platter of ultra-thin slices of meat (lamb, beef, pork, take your pick) is served, which diners can swish (the “shabu-shabu” action of the name) in the hot water, cooking it in seconds. Then you dip in a variety of sauces, eat, and repeat.

At first reading, I almost expected the cold shabu-shabu recipe to involve raw meat. (Don’t laugh, this wouldn’t be entirely unheard of.) Of course, what’s actually happening is that the meat’s cooked ahead of time, and served cold on top of a summer salad. This looked tasty enough that I wanted to share the link. I haven’t tried this myself, mind you, so your mileage may vary. Please write back if you give this a shot, or have any other summer recipe recommendations!

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