Chankonabe is the food of sumo wrestlers. Billed as being protein-packed, this meal is very much a “gather ’round and stuff yourself” kind of affair. You get a pot of broth, put it on a hot plate in the middle of the table, pile a bunch of stuff in it and let it cook, and then eat until you simply can’t eat anymore… or until the food runs out. The point of such a meal is to overeat–after all, if you’re trying to put on a few pounds you can’t skimp. Nope, you’ve got to pack on the protein to build up muscle, and eat lots of carbs to give yourself energy to keep going. Both of those things are in high demand with chankonabe, which is chock-full of vegetables and meat.
Now, a food for sumo wrestlers… “Emily,” you might be thinking, “is there… could there possibly be an anime about SUMO WRESTLING??? Is that where you’re getting this recipe from???” YES, my friends, that is CORRECT! Hinomaru Sumo is an anime about a schoolboy, named Hinomaru, who wants to be a champion sumo wrestler. I mean, wow, what ambition in a kid so young! Of all the sports anime out there, this one is definitely a little different. The challenges standing in his way? Well…he’s a tad short. And he’s got to recruit club members to the sumo wrestling club. Of course! The first hurdle for any school aged kid trying to start up a club.
How does Hinomaru do this? Well, he wisely tries to lure people in with food–a commendable technique, in my opinion. As I always say, if it’s free, it’s for ME, and if you’re offering free food, I’ll be there nodding along to your business pitch while chewing away. The problem is that the food has to be good, and unfortunately Hinomaru misses the mark. He includes garlic–which, likely due to burning, has turned bitter, and protein powder. Because, you know, he wants eveyrone to get swole. And he’s a school kid so probably can’t afford meat. What’s the solution? Protein powder. Smart in theory, gross in practice. Also in his batch of chankonabe is imitation crab. Nice try, my friend, but this will not attract club members.
Now, in order to make this chankonabe something that is truly worth scarfing down, I nixed the garlic and the protein powder and opted for real crab, pork slices, and chicken meatballs. After some brief research, I learned that chankonabe frequently includes some kind of chicken–because chickens stand on two legs, like sumo wrestlers need to do to win! I thought that was pretty cute, and the chicken meatballs I made were actually fantastic–I’ve never had meatballs in a hot pot before, but I loved them here. Add in a bunch of inexpensive vegetables, pair with rice and beer, and you’ve got yourself a damn good meal. And, bonus, if you’re not into traditional Thanksgiving recipes, this is a really fun alternative way to eat tasty, healthy food with your friends! (And it is healthy. Just because it’s what you eat to gain weight doesn’t mean it’s fatty and bad for you. Heavy on vegetables and protein, this is actually pretty low calorie, if eaten in moderation).
I promise you won’t be spitting it out like everyone did with Hinomaru’s! Watch the video below to see the full process.
Ingredients for the Chankonabe
Feeds 2 hungry girls
-5 cups dashi
-4 tbsp amino acids (GF)/ soy sauce
-4 tbsp sake
-4 tbsp mirin
-1/2 lb ground chicken
-2 tbsp fresh ground ginger
-1/3 c green onion
-Snow Crab Legs
-1/2 napa cabbage, in bite size pieces
-1 package enoki mushrooms
-1 package shiitake mushrooms
-3 carrots, sliced
-3 naganegi onions (long onions), sliced in 2 inch diagonal chunks
To Make the Chankonabe
1. Start by heating the dashi, mirin, sake, and amino acids/soy sauce. Keep warm. Prep all vegetables. Chop up cabbage, carrots, and both kinds of onions. Decorate shiitake mushrooms with slits in the top, if desired. Take out pork and snow crab and arrange nicely on a plate. Arrange vegetables nicely as well.
2. Put chicken, green onion, and ginger in a bowl with about 1 tsp of salt. Mix together by hand until everything is evenly incorporated. Set aside.
3. Heat liquids until simmering. Drop in chicken mixture–I used a cookie scoop to do this. Lay in pork slices and snow crab (I split total ingredients in half, and did two batches). Cover and let simmer 1-2 minutes. Then, slide in veggies. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
4. Enjoy with a nice bowl of rice!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Check in next week for another recipe, and to check out more anime food recipes, visit my blog. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I recently got a Twitter, so you can follow me at @yumpenguinsnack if you would like, and DEFINITELY feel free to send me food requests! My Tumblr is yumpenguinsnacks.tumblr.com. Find me on Youtube for more video tutorials! Enjoy the food, and if you decide to recreate this dish, show me pics! 😀