Must-eat in Japan – Sumo Wrestler Stew

Chanko Nabe is a traditional Japanese stew that forms the staple diet for sumo wrestlers, hence often called Sumo Wrestler Stew. The most commonly used meat used in Chanko Nabe is chicken. The reason for not using pork or beef is interesting – pork and beef are four legged animals that have their hands on the ground, which means to lose in Sumo!

Chanko Nabe

Image Courtesy: lazy fri13th used under the Creative Commons Licence

Although, by itself, it is a healthy dish, it is rich in proteins and when served in large quantities with rice, there is a high intake of calories. This is the reason it is part of the weight-gain diet for wrestlers.

The dish doesn’t have any fixed ingredients and is often a concoction put together with all the available ingredients. The most common ingredients in a Chanko Nabe are those that are proten-rich such as fish (fried and made into balls), tofu, and vegetables.

Chicken broth forms the base of this dish and sake or mirin (a rice wine with lesser levels of alcohol) are added lend a tangy flavour.

Chanko Nabe is a popular restaurant dish, served in restaurants run by retired sumo wrestlers. It is also served during sumo tournaments.

On a dinner table, it is served in order of seniority or first to the guests. With so much significance, be sure to sample this must-eat in Japan – Chanko Nabe.

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