Recipe: Naoko Takei Moore’s Kyoto-Style Saikyo Miso Hot Pot

Naoko Moore, Japanese homecooking instructor and owner of toiro kitchen, shares a traditional hot pot recipe that uses sweet, Saikyo miso paste and pork belly.

Donabe - Saikyo Miso Hot Pot
Naoko Takei Moore makes a Kyoto-Style Saikyo Miso Hot Pot, just one of many recipes you can find in her Japanese donabe-inspired cookbook. (Photos by Eric Wolfinger)

Donabe - Naoko Takei Moore
Naoko Takei Moore, author.

Every culture has its own version of comfort food, and as fall turns to winter, for many Japanese that means sitting around a donabe (earthenware hot pot) with family and friends. But what is it that makes donabe cooking so special? Japanese homecooking instructor and owner of toiro kitchen, Naoko Takei Moore, has just published a book about this style of cooking, titled, Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking with Sonoma County chef, Kyle Connaughton.

Naoko and Kyle first tasted and fell for the creamy broth and elegant flavor of this Saikyo-Style Miso Nabe (Hot Pot) at the historic headquarters of the original maker, Honda Miso Honten. Founded in Kyoto during the early 19th century, they have been producing their signature sweet white miso ever since.

Saikyo miso has a mild, sweet flavor that makes it a versatile ingredient for both savory dishes and desserts. The secret to this particular recipe is a splash of rice vinegar, which adds a refreshing accent to the sweet saikyo miso flavor. You can always adjust the amount of Saikyo miso in this dish according to your own taste.

Donabe - Nagatani-en Donabe Dinner
(L–R) Chef Kyle Connaughton and co-author Naoko Takei Moore sit down to a shared donabe dinner with the Nagatani family.

Donabe_Donabe Styles_53
Available through toiro kitchen, each of these donabe styles has been crafted to suit different methods of cooking.