Beef Shabu-Shabu

Updated July 07, 2016



Published by Hyperion

Beef Shabu-Shabu
This image courtesy of Shutterstock

Editor's Note: Shabu-shabu is one of the more popular Japanese dishes and it usually involves boiling thinly-sliced beef in hot water to cook it. Its name comes from the sound that the pot of water makes as you stir the dish, and it's usually cooked and eaten with a group of people for a fun social activity. This Beef Shabu-Shabu recipe takes the popular Japanese food and turns it into a delicious, savory soup. You won't want to go back to your typical shabu-shabu recipe once you taste how delicious this Asian soup turns out to be!

If you think any dish with beef must be a heavy one, think again. This soup, which resembles Vietnamese pho, may be the lightest incarnation of beef you’ve tasted. The beef itself is sliced very thin and cooked gently in a broth that dances with the bright flavors of lime, ginger, and Thai basil.

Serves4 Portions



OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date

Recipe CourseMain Course

MealDinner, Lunch

Taste and TextureHerby, Meaty, Spiced

Type of DishHot Soup


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice plus 2 limes cut in half from top to bottom
  • ¼ cup tamari
  • 4½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound beef tenderloin, all exterior fat and nerve trimmed off and sliced paper-thin by your butcher
  • 20 whole fresh Thai basil leaves plus 10 leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts


In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm oil. Add ginger and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in orange marmalade, ¼ cup lime juice, tamari, chicken stock, and hoisin sauce, increase heat to medium-high, and cook 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Pile beef slices in 4 large soup bowls. Place 5 basil leaves in each bowl. Reheat broth until it is boiling hot, add ¼ cup lime juice and chopped basil, and then fill bowls with broth. Garnish each bowl of soup with a small mound of bean sprouts and serve with lime halves on the side.



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This soup was really good. Keep in mind that it is really quite sour from all the lime juice. Such interesting flavors. Make sure to have the beef sliced really thin in order for it to cook in the broth. I had no need for extra limes for serving.


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