Heat up the winter months with this easy-to-follow recipe and video for a Napa Cabbage Cream Nabemono, a hearty traditional Japanese hot pot that is full of flavor and healthy goodness, and that will be enjoyed by the entire family or dinner party.

When it’s cold outside, hot pot is your go-to Japanese recipe! Japanese people love hot pots in the winter, and we have many varieties. This recipe is just one of the many. This one based on napa cabbage, which originated in China but is now a part of Japanese food culture, too. By adding cream and chicken to the hot pot, you get a hearty and rich delight perfect for cold weather. Just use our easy-to-follow recipe and video to create this delicious Napa Cabbage hot pot in your home kitchen.

What Is Nabemono (Hot Pot)?

Nabemono roughly translates as “things in a pot” and is one of many different kinds of hot pots in Japanese food culture. Extremely popular in Japanese homes in the winter time, nabemono (or just nabe) is cooked and served right on the table in front of everyone.

Considered an invigorating and energy-giving food to help people power through the cold season, nabemono is cooking in a donabe. This ceramic crockpot is placed right over an open flame and then the different ingredients are added. The whole process of cooking nabemono is quite ceremonial, as the dish is an important part of Japanese culture and traditions.

5 Popular Hot Pot Dishes

While there is an almost unlimited number of different nabemono hot pots you can make, these five authentic Japanese food recipes are the most popular. Each one developed on its own in a specific region of Japan and has become quite famous.

Chanko – Known for fattening up Sumo wrestlers, this super-filling hot pot stew contains everything from chicken meatballs to pork belly. Learn how to make it here.

Oden – One of the oldest and most traditional Japanese recipes for nabemono, oden contains seafood and hearty winter veggies.

Yudofu – This tofu-based hot pot gets an almost custard-like consistency when done right. It is basically tofu cooked in dashi broth, making it a great dish when you’re getting over a cold as it’s very comforting to your stomach.

Mizutaki – A flavor-packed hot pot that is easy to make. Mizutaki contains chicken parts like gizzards, as well as vegetables such as mushrooms and chrysanthemum leaves. You dip them in sweet and sour ponzu sauce to enjoy.

Motsu – Made with beef or pork tripe plus tons of winter vegetables, this is a healthy Japanese recipe that can help you stay energized in the cold season.

Find out more about the 5 nabemono dishes here.

Cooking Tips

  • When slicing the onions, make sure you slice along the lines of the onion (lines go from the head of the onion to the bottom of it.) If you slice the other way, you cut across the fibers of the onion so the onion loses its water (making the soup taste more watery than it’s supposed to). If you’re eating onions raw, this way of slicing makes onions softer. But if you’re cooking onions, you should slice onions along the lines.
  • You want to have every ingredient sliced and ready a half an hour before you start cooking. This allows you to easily add every ingredient at its proper cooking time.

Presentation Tips

Japanese hot pots are traditionally served with either hot tea or warm sake. Both of them help heat up the body to withstand the winter months.

Napa Cabbage Cream Hot Pot

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 3


  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thigh
  • 1 White Onion
  • 1.25 lb Daikon Radish
  • ¾ lb Napa Cabbage
  • 2 tsp Flour
  • 4 tsp Butter
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  • 1 cube Chicken Bouillon
  • 1 cup Water


  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • ½ cup Fresh Cream
  • ½ cup Milk


  1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Thinly slice the onion, and peel the skin from the radish and cut into small pieces.
  3. Chop the white part of the napa cabbage vertically and slice into thick pieces. Chop the green part into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Lightly sprinkle flour on the chicken, and cook in a pot lined with butter until the surface hardens.
  5. Add the vegetables except for the green part of the napa cabbage and stir for 1 minute.
  6. Add A and bay leaf. Bring to boil over medium heat.
  7. Once boiled turn down the heat to low. Put a lid on and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Add the green part of the napa cabbage. Once the leaves soften, add B and cook for 2 minutes.