Bijin Nabe (美人锅) – is a pot of creamy collagen-rich chicken broth that is boiled under medium heat for more than 8 hours until the bone melted, the collagen has broken down and until every last bit of goodness is in the broth. It is a pot of soup that is good for bone health and superb for a wrinkle-free skin!
Upon hearing Bijin Nabe, many will have Tsukada Nojo’s Bijin Nabe popping up in their head. Yes! This recipe is totally inspired by them and the taste exactly the same *hehe buey paiseh*. Now, you can make it in your own kitchen, less the queue and the hefty bills after dinner.
Like Tsukada Nojo, I also do not recommend adding ingredients that are too strong in taste, like beef, mutton, etc that will alter the original taste of the chicken soup. Prawns also to be added last as it will add a very sweet yet prawny taste to the soup.
Beside the broth, this post also provide a bonus recipe for the Tsukune – Japanese Meatball. And I added a special ingredient for a dynamite crunch!
The broth, when chill, will become a milky-collagen pudding that can be melted back to into its liquidified state.
This pot was out in room temperature for a while to take photo and the pudding starts to slowly liquidify.
To make this broth, a lot of patience is required. Not that it is very difficult, just that the 1st few steps are not to be skipped to ensure that you get the purest creamy soup as end result. Do not use slow cooker or pressure cooker as it’s the rolling boil that breaks down the marrow, fats and any connective tissues that makes the broth milky with the sticky-lipped feel.
To achieve the milky collagen broth, chicken bones and chicken feet (or wing tips) are used.
You can use wing tip instead of feet if you can find it. I got my wing tip from the butcher in the market.
Wash the feet (or tips) and bones and fill the pot with water until it fully covers the feet and bones. Let it boil under high heat for 5 minutes until all the scums of the feet and bones are floating on top of the pot of boiling water
Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove. Pour away the water and its scum. Wash and scrub the feet (or tips), bone and even pot. Ensure that not a single sight of the residues were remained. This step is ultra important if you want a pot of milky broth instead of greyish broth!
After the feet (or tips) and bones are cleansed thoroughly, transfer back into the pot or any pot that can hold at least 6 litres of water. * you can use a slightly smaller pot, just that you need to put in more effort in adding more water and keep an eye on it to ensure that there are sufficient liquid in the pot.
Add in 6 litres of water to the pot of feets and bone, bring it to vigourous boil under medium high heat.
Once the pot of water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium (still boiling). Remove any floating scums if any. Then, cover with lid, slightly ajar to ensure that the pot of soup will not spill out from the pot from boiling
After 2 hours of boiling…
After 5 hours of boiling….
After 8 hours of boiling…
The duration of boiling will depends on the heat used. The higher the heat, the shorter the time taken to achieve a perfectly milky, slightly sticky and creamy broth.
Do add water occassionaly to maintain a certain water level for boiling.
How much water to add and when to add?
Use the initial 6 litres of water as a benchmark. Let the water maintained at slightly more than half of the 6 litres level. The broth after straining away the bone, will have about 3 litres left.
When the broth reaches your desired thickness and milkiness, strained away all the bones and shreds of meat – leaving you a pot of perfectly smooth and milky broth.
*The remaining broth should be 3 litres. The seasoning is based on 3 litres of broth. Should it be lesser, please reduce accordiningly
After straining, this is the part where you add the chicken pieces (wings, drum, breast, thigh, etc) and seasoning such as sake, salt and sugar. I used cooking sake that is available from any Japanese Section. Drinking sake also can be used but just that it’s a bit pricier.
Let it boil under medium high heat for 5 minutes, off the fire and allow it to cool.
Once it is cool enough to put it into the fridge, transfer to any airtight container, or in the pot itself, with lid on, chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. I would recommend to start the broth a day before you need it.
Bonus Recipe: Japanese Pork Tsukune (Meatball) with Dynamite Crunch
Making these Tsukune (Meatball) is easy. Feel free to subtitute pork with chicken. The secret for the dynamite crunch is Fish Roe (Tobiko) which you can get it from any Japanese Supermarket or Sushi Bar.
Just mix all the ingredients for the meatball together and make into small balls of your prefered size.
Using ice cream scoop makes this task alot easier.
Suggested ingredients for the soup: Golden Mushroom (Enoki), Baby Corn, Black Fungus, Mini Red Radish, Lettuce, Prawns, Tsukune (Meatball), Beancurd Puff, PeaSprout, Noodles, Rice
*Remember to cook your noodles seperately in a pot of boiling water before adding into the soup to prevent the starch from thickening the soup.
We added cooked japanese rice to the last bit of soup to make it into porridge. Yumz
Do have a bowl of the original broth before adding in any ingredients. Adding other ingredients will also dilute and alter the taste. Of coz it will stil be nice! But wouldn’t it be nice that you can have 3 different type of soup with just 1 pot of broth: Original, with the ingredients, and after adding prawns.
Assembling the Bijin Nabe Hotpot for serving
Scoop the pudding-like broth into the serving pot for hotpot. Place the ingredients for the hotpot on a plate. Once your guest arrive, just heat up the pot of milky pudding and enjoy the sticky-lipped intensified broth!
- 600g - 800g Chicken Feet (or Wing Tip)
- 1500g Chicken Bones
- Cleaned and Scum-free Chicken Feet & Bones
- 6 Litres of water (Add more along the way - refer to post's body on when to add water)
- 500ml Cooking Sake
- 2 tablespoon Salt (please taste and adjust accordingly based on individual preference)
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 6 pieces of Chicken Wings and Drumlette (Can be replaced with any parts of the chicken)
- 250g Minced Pork Belly (Can be replaced with minced pork or chicken)
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch/ Potato Starch
- 1 teaspooon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Cooking Sake
- ¼ teaspoon Grounded black pepper
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons Cured Fish Roe (Tobiko)
- Golden Mushroom (Enoki)
- Baby Corn
- Soaked Black Fungus
- Mini Red Raddish
- Beancurd Puff
- Wash the feet (or tips) and bones and fill the pot with water until it fully covers the feet and bones. Let it boil under high heat for 5 minutes until all the scums of the feet and bones are floating on top of the pot of boiling water
- Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove.
- Pour away the water and its scum.
- Wash and scrub the feets (or tips), bone and even pot. Ensure that not a single sight of the residues were remained
- Transfer the cleaned feet and bone back into the pot or any pot that can hold at least 6 litres of water.
- Add in 6 litres of water to the pot of feets and bone, bring it to vigourous boil under medium high heat.
- Once the pot of water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium (still boiling but not vigourously). Remove any floating scums if any.
- Cover with lid, slightly ajar
- Let it boil for about 8 hours or until the broth reached your desired milkiness and thickness (it will be slightly sticky and thick due to the break down of collagen into the broth)
- Addwater occassionaly to maintain a certain water level for boiling. *Refer to post content on how much water to add and when to add
- When the broth reaches your desired thickness and milkiness, strained away all the bones and shreds of meat
- The broth should be about 3 litres after straining.
- Transfer the broth into a pot and allow it to boil over medium high heat
- Add the chicken pieces (wings, drum, breast, thigh, etc) , seasoning and allow it to boil for 5 minutes
- Allow it to cool before transfering to an airtight container or let it remain in the pot,
- Transfer the pot or container or broth into the chiller and allow it to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight, until the broth set into pudding-like texture.
- In a large mixing bowl, add in all the ingredients and seasoning.
- Mix until well combine
- Make it into balls, cling wrap it and chill it fridge until needed.
- Sccop the pudding-like broth togeher with the chicken pieces into the pot for hotpot
- Assemble the rest of the ingredents for the hotpot on a plate.