You know how sometimes people talk about how sausage is so delicious, but they don’t really know what is in it? Hopefully you are the type that wants to know, because today we’re going to spell out what “parts” go into motsu nabe (hot pot). And you’re going to like what you hear. Hopefully.
True meat aficionados, at least while in the comfort zone of their own sect, love to discuss just how flavorful the “motsu,” or so-called lesser cuts of meat are. They’re right, you know. The cuts that find their way into motsu nabe are: tripe (a few varieties of it, in fact), entrails, heart, large intestine, rectum, and stomach and its lining. It’s really a mouthful (pun intended, naturally), but it’s best to get things like this out in the open in the most straightforward way possible.
What does this veritable fruit basket of organ-ic joy get you? Well, “giara” is the fourth stomach – you didn’t think all the stomachs were classified the same, right? — meaning it doesn’t have to work as hard as the other stomachs. This gives it a fattier composition, and also makes for a somewhat redder meat than other stomachs. The heart has a light crunch or crisp to it, and a mild flavor to go along with it. Back to stomachs, the cow’s first stomach is white, chewier, and has a lighter flavor than the fourth stomach. The stomach lining, or membrane, is very low in calories and high in iron, with a chewy but approachable consistency. It’s all about mouthfeel on this one.
Put all these different types of innards together in a well prepared soup base, and (all tongue-in-soup aside) you really do have quite a flavorful, hearty (sorry!) meal. Prepared correctly, these cuts provide you with a vastly different flavor experience, and possibly some adventures in consistency never experienced before.
Looking to try motsu nabe in Tokyo?
Japan Gourmetpedia recommends using our sister site, Tokyo Dinner Ticket, to find the perfect restaurant.