Shabu-shabu is one of Japan's most popular hot pot dishes along with Sukiyaki. It consists of raw assorted vegetables, tofu, and paper-thin slices of raw beef (or pork) cooked in kombu dashi (broth). The name "shabu-shabu" comes from the Japanese sound and action of the thinly sliced meat being swished with chopsticks in the hot pot. Typically shabu-shabu is served with broth in a clay pot on portable stoves. The raw ingredients are served on two plates, one for the meat and one for all the vegetables. It's a fun meal since everyone sits around the hot pot and cooks together.
*Note: Tahini sauce can also be used. It won't taste the same but you can add ground toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil to give it more of a toasty flavor.
**Note: Also known as tong hao or garland chrysanthemum.
Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
Fill a clay pot or large pot 2/3 full with water. Add the dried seaweed and soak in the water for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, arrange the vegetables, tofu, and noodles on a large serving plate, and place the meat on a separate serving plate. Set up a portable gas burner and place the serving plate on a table. Fill a bowl with water and place a fine-meshed sieve in it for skimming off scum later. Give each guest a bowl of rice and a bowl for cooked food, and 2 small bowls — one for ponzu sauce and one for sesame sauce.
Simmer the dried seaweed over medium heat on the kitchen stove for about 10 minutes. Remove the dried seaweed when the water starts to boil. Bring the broth to a boil.
Add the stems of Napa cabbage and shungiku, leek, carrot, some mushrooms, and tofu. (You want to start with the foods that take the longest to cook.)
Carefully bring the pot of boiling broth to the table and place over the portable gas burner. Have each person cook their beef by dipping a slice of beef in the boiling broth with chopsticks. Swish it gently back and forth until the meat changes color, 10-20 seconds.
Enjoy the meat by dipping in either the sesame or ponzu sauce. You can add grated daikon and Shichimi Togarashi to the ponzu sauce. Remove the cooked food from the pot as they finish and dip them in either sauce.
Add remaining ingredients as necessary to the boiling broth and simmer for a few minutes. Skim off the scum and fat from the broth as you cook using the fine-meshed sieve and swish it around the bowl of water to remove the scum.
End the meal with udon noodles. When most or all of the ingredients are taken out from the broth, add the udon noodles to the pot and cook for a few minutes. Flavor the udon with just bit of salt and white pepper or dip in ponzu sauce.