Sumo wrestlers are usually referred to as Rikishi. Being a rikishi is a tough journey that requires hard work, determination and discipline. When a sumo wrestler is beginning their wrestling career, they usually join a stable. A stable is a place where the rikishi live, eat, workout, drink and do everything throughout their sumo wrestling career.
How to make 'Chanko Nabe' soup Japanese sports personalities use for weight gain
Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world. They have a 3 per cent obesity rate compared to USA's 35 per cent. It’s no coincidence that with good health, an ideal weight is also easily achieved, even among Japan's biggest sports personalities, sumo wrestlers.
When it comes to sumo wrestling, the bigger and stronger you are, the more of an advantage you hold. Unlike other sports, sumo wrestlers do not depend on supplements to get as large as they do. They achieve their size and strength through vigorous training and a healthy balanced diet.
One of the notable components of the Rikishi diet is the Chanko Nabe soup (hot pot) which is the staple food to boost the sumo physique.
It provides the wrestlers with the necessary minerals, vitamins, proteins and all other nutrients as well as helping them gain weight.
Chanko Nabe is basically a soup that is served while very hot. Although there is no set way of making this broth, the ingredients mostly used are the same across the board.
To make chankonabe you need proteins and vegetables.
Commonly used proteins and vegetables include fish, beef, chicken, pork and even tofu, and potatoes, mushrooms, radishes, cabbage and others, respectively.
Although there is no set way of making Chanko Nabe, here is a simple recipe to give you a rough idea of how this amazing soup rich in nutrients as well as calories is made.
You need ingredients to make the meatballs that go into the soup as well as ingredients for the soup.
Chicken thighs, chicken meatballs, fish fillet, fishballs, crab, shrimp, sliced pork belly, bacon, sausages, Tofu (Thick/thin deep-fried tofu, medium-firm tofu, etc.), Konnyaku, garlic, kimchi, sesame seeds, vegetables (daikon, onion, carrot, napa cabbage, green onion, gobo, mizuna, chives), mushrooms (shiitake, enoki, maitake, shimeji, etc), Udon noodles or Chuka noodles (Chinese-style noodles)
What you need for the meatballs:
- 1/2 lb ground or minced pork
- 1 or 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon of miso paste
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon of soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of sake
- 1 onion that is minced or cut into very small pieces
READ: How to make egg stew
What you need for the soup:
- 6 1/4 cups of fish broth
- 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons of sake
- 3 tablespoons of mirin
- 1/4 cup of daikon, sliced
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 1/4 cup of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bunch of nira, chopped. (Nira are smaller green onions)
- 1 bunch of green onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- A handful of cabbage, chopped
- A handful of bok choy, chopped
- 12 ounces of firm tofu (or protein of choice), sliced
How to prepare Chanko Nabe hot pot:
- The first thing you need to do is make the meatballs. To do this, you take a large mixing bowl and mix all the meatball ingredients highlighted above together.
- Then using wet hands, roll meatballs into 1-inch balls and refrigerate until ready to use.
- The purpose of refrigerating is to ensure the different ingredients combine well and settle together.
- Take a medium-sized pot, and warm up the fish broth, together with soy sauce, sake, and mirin until hot.
- Then take your chopped daikon and carrots and add them to your pot. Cook them over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
- Then take the pork meatballs you made earlier and add them to the pot. Let this cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Then take your sliced shiitake mushrooms, your chopped nira, your chopped 1-inch pieces of green onions, your chopped cabbage, and your chopped bok choy, and add them to the pot. Cook this for 10 more minutes.
- Lower the heat and add the sliced tofu (do not boil in high heat). Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add soy sauce if you like.
- Serve with noodles or rice.
You can also use leftover Chanko Nabe broth later as the soup for noodle dishes, or drink it as a soup (dilute with water or dashi a little bit if it’s too salty) as it has so much flavour from all the hot pot ingredients.
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