Yu-Tofu means “tofu in boiling water,” but this flavorful, flexible hot pot goes way beyond basic tofu.


Courtesy of Tokiko Sawada, owner and general manager, Binchoyaki – Izakaya Dining in Sacramento.
Course Main Course, Soup
Servings 4


For the dipping sauce:

  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup soy sauce, regular or light sodium
  • ¾ cup oyster sauce
  • ¾ cup sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, black or white
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced (optional for added spiciness)
  • Shichimi pepper, to taste (optional for added spiciness)

For the yu-tofu:

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 cups napa cabbage, chopped into large bite-sized pieces
  • 1 package tofu, soft or firm,, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 to 6 shiitake mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ medium carrot, sliced thinly on bias
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into large bite-sized pieces
  • 4 packs instant ramen noodles, no sauce packets


  • Prepare dipping sauce by combining in bowl all ingredients and mixing well. Pour sauce into 4 small- or medium-sized bowls for dipping the yu-tofu ingredients. Reserve some sauce to add to hot pot with noodles.
  • Except for the noodles, add all yu-tofu ingredients to large heavy pot. Bring ingredients to boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is done. Place pot on a trivet with a ladle on the table. Serve small portion with small amount of broth in small bowls with dipping sauce. (Save remaining broth for later.)
  • Once all veggies and protein have been eaten, return pot to stove and bring broth back to boil. Add ramen noodles. Cook over medium heat until noodles achieve ideal texture. Bring pot back to trivet on table and serve noodles in dipping bowls. Any unused dipping sauce that remains can be added to bowls for bolder flavor. Once noodles are eaten, add broth to dipping sauce and eat.


Tofu can be swapped for salmon, shrimp, chicken breast, or more tofu. Chicken broth can be replaced with vegetable broth to make dish vegan or pescatarian.