Nabemono or its more common abbreviation, nabe, refers to a variety of hot pot dishes. Among the varieties of nabe include sukiyaki, oden, yosenabe, and shabu-shabu.
As for yaminabe, it simply refers to cooking and eating nabe in the dark as yami means dark.
Yaminabe parties are popular during winter. It is simple and fun to hold a yaminabe party as you only need a portable gas stove, a cooking pot, and willing participants. It is like a surprise party where everyone brings one or more ingredients that they want to be added into the nabe without letting anyone else know what it is beforehand.
When the equipment is prepared and the lights are off, the participants then add their ingredients into the pot. Generally, the ingredients include those that are not typical to the ordinary nabe varieties you may have tried previously – typical ingredients are pork, vegetables, tofu, fish meat, udon, and the likes. However, yaminabe participants may add anything as long as it is edible (you don’t want to end up poisoning anyone!) like chocolate, banana, a croissant, oranges and so on.
As the lights are off, no one knows what is added into the pot. Consequently, no one knows what they have picked up from the nabe until they’re eating it. One of the few rules is that once a participant has picked his or her food from the nabe, he or she cannot change it and has to finish eating it.
Yaminabe sort of reminds me of a witch’s brew so this could be a great idea for next year’s Halloween party.
It is such an interesting and fun experience that everyone must try at least once. And who knows, your group may end up concocting a creative and delicious nabe instead of a disgusting one!