Sumo hotpot

Sumo hotpot

Chanko nabe

Laura Edwards

This light yet extremely filling hotpot dish is famous for being a key part of the weight-gain diet of sumo wrestlers. Indeed, what distinguishes it isn’t any particular flavour or ingredients – it can be made from just about anything – but its volume. So whatever you choose to put in it, just make sure you choose a lot of it. That’s the whole point! Like Sukiyaki or other Japanese hotpots, this dish is more fun and easier if it’s cooked communally, at the table. But you can do it all together in the kitchen as well – totally up to you.

The only difficult part is rolling away from the table after you’ve eaten as much as a trainee sumo wrestler


Quantity Ingredient
1 litre chicken stock, dashi, or a mix of both
100ml sake
100ml mirin
100ml soy sauce
4 portions cooked rice
150-180ml soy sauce
or Ponzu
1/2 chinese leaf, cut into chunks, (Napa cabbage)
400-600g firm tofu, cut into large blocks
200-300g mushrooms, see note
2 bok choi, quartered
or 4 baby bok choi, halved
1/2 daikon, peeled and cut into rounds
or 200-300g turnips, peeled and quartered
4 chicken thighs, boneless, cut into bite-sized pieces
150-200g raw king prawns, shelled and deveined
4 portions ramen, udon or shirataki noodles, (optional)


  1. Place a large pot or flameproof casserole on a burner in the centre of the table and pour in the stock/dashi, sake, mirin and soy sauce. Give everybody a bowl of rice and a little dish of ponzu or soy sauce. Have your vegetables prepped and ready to go on a platter, and your raw meat and shellfish ready on a separate platter (remember to use separate tongs or chopsticks for handling the raw meat). Once the broth is simmering, start cooking!
  2. Pass around the meat, shellfish and veg, allowing everyone to drop whatever they fancy into the broth and cook it to their liking – then rescue it with chopsticks, dip it in ponzu or soy sauce, and eat! Over time the broth will become rich and deep as it takes on the flavour of the ingredients. It will also reduce – top up with water as needed. If you like, once all the meat and veg have been devoured, let the broth reduce and add noodles. Once they’re cooked, remove from the heat and slurp them up along with the broth.
  3. Repeat frequently to make your sumo-wrestling dreams come true.


  • I recommend enoki, shimeji/ beech, shiitake and/or oyster
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