Whenever the weather gets chilly, be it on a rainy day or on a cold winter’s night, we can’t help but wish to stay cosy and warm. This goes beyond donning a thick puffer jacket or putting on a pair of gloves — we may find ourselves craving comforting dishes, such as a hearty bowl of ramen filled with meat, vegetables and piping hot broth.

But did you know there are a plethora of Japanese dishes in addition to ramen that you can enjoy when it gets cold outside? Here are four of our favourite ones!

1. Shabu-Shabu

Shabu-shabu in one pot

Vegetables are boiled and meat is swished in hot dashi broth. (Photo from: Pixta)

We all love a good soup dish whenever the weather gets cold. And that’s exactly what shabu-shabu is here for! It’s a hotpot dish consisting of different vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, and carrots, and thinly-sliced beef or pork. The vegetables are cooked in dashi with kombu (sea kelp) and sake in water. Take note that the meat is not boiled together with the vegetables, but rather swished several times into the broth until it’s cooked. Various dips and sauces such as ponzu and creamy sesame sauce are also served on the table to complement the meat’s taste.

2. Oden

Oden is a common winter street food

A popular street food during the winter months. (Photo from: Pixta)

If you’re into light but tasty dishes, this is perfect for you. Oden is a single-pot dish that uses various savoury ingredients simmered in soy sauce-flavoured broth. Its ingredients and flavours may vary from region to region, but there are some standard ingredients such as fish cake, radish, boiled egg, and potatoes. While you can often find oden in convenience stores in Japan, you can also purchase oden sets in supermarkets that you can cook at home.

3. Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki is perfect for keeping warm

A one-pot dish that is perfect for keeping warm. (Photo from: Unsplash)

Sukiyaki is another one-pot dish made with vegetables and meat that is usually cooked in a cast-iron pot. It is a traditional Japanese food that has a couple of different styles of preparation region, served all-year round. But many also enjoy eating it during the colder days of the year. Unlike shabu-shabu, the meat in sukiyaki is boiled with other broth ingredients. The broth, boiled in a shallow pot, is a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin (sweet rice wine). Locals also eat it with white rice and recommend dipping the ingredients in a raw egg before eating!

4. Yakiimo

A slow roasted sweet potato dish

A simple yet nostalgic dish during the winter. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

Here’s a non-soup dish that will also keep you warm in late autumn to winter: Yakiimo, which is made of sweet potatoes. Nostalgically, Yakiimo vendors in Japan would drive slowly through neighbourhoods, and people would be able to smell the sweet aroma of slow-roasted sweet potatoes. This roasting process is key to bringing out the sweetness of the sweet potato and makes the centre very tender, allowing for easy eating. You would often find people selling this on the street or at supermarkets, especially during the winter months.

Which one would you like to try first?

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