The nabe is a table top pot, sometimes cast iron but more often it is a ceramic pot with a lid. In the simplest nabe dishes, the pot has simmering broth and the diners cook their own morsels in the pot, placing and retrieving the food bits with their chopsticks. All this while the dinner conversation flows about them. After, noodles are added to the now flavored broth to make soup. Same pot but a somewhat different dish is a premade, thick and hearty soup, nabeyaki, in other words, a one-pot nabe dish made in the sukiyaki style. To say what is in nabeyaki is difficult as there is no definitive recipe. The recipes vary from place to place, with each locale having a familiar topping. There is no right or wrong list of ingredients. It is safe to say that nabeyaki will usually contain familiar ingredients from the Japanese larder. It is probably also safe to say a good nabeyaki can be made out of the left-over items you have just cleared out of the refrigerator.
My better half wouldn’t be happy at all if I added a nabe to my already sizeable kitchen gadget collection. She is also very much against my cutting a hole in the dining room table to fit a burner for a nabe. So, to preserve domestic tranquility, I improvise and use my crock pot. After all, it is a ceramic pot and I can sit it on the table. To save time, this soup is made with prepackaged chicken and vegetable broths, frozen vegetables, frozen pepper strips and canned mushrooms augmented with fresh vegetables. It all fits very nicely in a 4-quart crock pot.