Chankonabe Japanese Stew

Chankonabe Japanese Stew

Chankonabe Japanese Stew

Course: Featured, Japanese, Main Course
Step into the heart of Japan with a bowl of Chankonabe, a hearty stew that’s not just a meal but a piece of history. This dish is a staple in the sumo wrestling world, providing rikishi (sumo wrestlers) with the calories and nutrients needed to bulk up. Its origins are steeped in tradition, likely becoming a key part of the sumo diet during the Edo period (1603-1868), embedding it deeply in Japanese culture.

Chankonabe combines a rich base of fish or chicken broth with the umami of soy sauce, sake, and mirin. It’s filled with a variety of ingredients like daikon radish, carrots, mushrooms, tofu, and chicken, creating an array of textures and flavors. The addition of Chinese cabbage and green onions introduces a fresh crunch to the mix.
Beyond its taste, the stew is a nutritional champion, offering protein from the chicken and tofu, alongside vitamins and minerals from the assorted vegetables, and healthy fats from the sesame oil. It’s a meal that satisfies both taste and health needs, adaptable to personal preferences.
The cooking process is straightforward: sauté chicken, add broth and ingredients, and simmer. It’s a forgiving recipe, ideal for those who enjoy adjusting flavors to find the perfect balance.
In today’s health-conscious world, this stew is a standout, combining historical significance with taste and nutrition. It’s a warm, fulfilling meal that connects you to centuries of Japanese tradition, proving that sometimes, the best way to nourish the body and soul is through a dish that has been cherished for generations.


  • 1 liter (0.22 gal) fish or chicken broth

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 4 tablespoons of sake

  • 3 tablespoons mirin (traditional sweet rice wine)

  • 1/2 cup chopped of daikon radish

  • 1 chopped carrot

  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms (can be replaced with other mushrooms to taste)

  • 1 finely chopped leek

  • 4 leaves of chopped Chinese cabbage

  • 150 g (5.3 oz) tofu cheese

  • 1 cup soybean sprouts

  • 1 cup shimeji mushrooms

  • 1 chicken breast, diced

  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

  • 1 tsp Dashi seasoning (optional)


  • Saute chicken chunks in sesame oil for 5 minutes. Then set them aside
  • Add broth, sake, Mirin, soy sauce and all other vegetables, mushrooms and chicken to the pan.
  • Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve the soup hot. The soup is light enough so you can serve it with rice.

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