What you need to know:
DIY. Beef and vegetables in a table-top broth, writes A. Kadumukasa Kironde II.
If you do not have a fondue pot, then just use a heavy bottomed pan. Just make sure that you keep some heat under the pan whilst you are enjoying your feast. Another alternative is to rig up a trivet to stand the pan on with a couple of tea lights underneath. Whatever the case, just make sure that you make the actual fondue on a hob and that it is piping hot when it reaches the table.
1. Place the beef filet in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until firm but not frozen. Slice it very thinly against the grain using a cleaver or a sharp knife. Arrange it decoratively on a serving plate and cover and set it aside. Bring the water to the boil in a Japanese donabe, a fondue pot or any other covered flameproof casserole with an unglazed outside. Stir in the dashi powder or stock cube and cover and simmer for 8 – 10 minutes. Transfer the container to a heat source (its own stand or a hot plate) at the dining table.
2. In the meantime, prepare the vegetables and bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil. With a knife, cut a series of grooves along the length of the carrots and then slice thinly. Blanch the carrots, spring onions, Chinese leaves and mooli, separately for about 2 – 3 minutes each and drain thoroughly. Arrange the vegetables nicely decorated on serving dishes along with the bamboo shoots and tofu. In case you are using dried mushrooms, put them in a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak for about 5 minutes and then drain. Slice the shitake or Oyster mushrooms.
3. To make the sesame dipping sauce, dry-fry the sesame seeds, if using, in a heavy frying pan over medium heat and then grind them in a mortar with a pestle or in a food processor.
4. Mix together the ground sesame seeds or the tahini paste, stock, soy sauce, sugar, sake and the wasibi powder, if using. Combine thoroughly and pour into a shallow dish.
5. To make the ponzu dipping sauce, put all the ingredients in a suitable screw top jar and shake vigorously. Pour into a shallow dish.
6. When you are ready to serve, arrange the plates of vegetables and dishes of sauce around the broth and provide each guest with a pair of chopsticks and individual bowls so that they can help themselves to what they want and then cook it in the broth and then then serve themselves.
Towards the end of the meal, each guest is at liberty to take a portion of noodles and ladle a little stock over them before eating.