This winter hasn’t been very cold in London but there are the occasional nights where you just want to lock yourself indoors with a hot bowl of something steaming up your face. And if that bowl of something is healthy as well….well, it doesn’t hurt, does it? Especially when your trousers seem a little tighter than usual after all the holiday and um…post-holiday eating.

Once again, I turned towards my trusty donabe (I hope this blog doesn’t read like one endless love letter to this wonderful clay pot). Oh goodness, I wish I’d noted down my recipe when I’d made this dish – the recipe you see below is totally from memory!

Chicken Meatball Donabe

Chicken Meatballs (Tori Dango)

200g chicken
1 egg
1-2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp grated ginger/ginger juice
1 tsp cornstarch
salt and white pepper

For meatballs like this, I like to place the ground meat on a chopping board and chop it with my cleaver for a good minute or two to get a smoother paste. Place it into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all together by hand. Refrigerate until use.

Vegetables in the Donabe

Chicken Meatball Nabe
serves 2.

1 recipe of the chicken meatball mix above
1 large handful of button mushrooms, cut into bite sized chunks
3 spring onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
about 1/4 of a large Chinese cabbage, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
dashi – I used stock powder
2 tbsps soy sauce
salt to taste

Arrange the vegetables in a donabe and pour soy sauce overtop and enough dashi to cover all the ingredients. Set over medium high heat to boil. When it does start boiling, use a couple of teaspoons to drop ballfuls of the chicken mixture into the pot, making sure to separate them. Lower the heat to medium and let it bubble until everything is cooked to your liking. Season the broth if necessary and then serve with rice on the side.

If you have other vegetables to use up, do put them in there. I can imagine spinach being particularly lovely in there.