I used to eat this as a kid, and had forgotten all about it until my boss told me how often they eat shabu shabu at their house. And it's so easy! We eat the tofu version a lot during the winter. It's nice and warm, but not heavy. If you want, you can replace tofu with very thinly sliced meats.
The idea of shabu shabu is that you cook all the the items in a big pot, parcel it out into your own bowls, and then use either the ponzu or goma as a dipping sauce for the various vegetables, noodles or meat/tofu. And at the end if you are still feeling your inner carbohydrate urge, you can add cooked rice to the broth in your own bowl and eat it like chazuke (tea rice).
I've also found that it's pretty easy to make the sauces from scratch in the quantities for a single meal. This means fewer half-used bottles in your fridge.
1 block of tofu, cubed or
1 package of very thinly sliced pork, beef or chicken (paper thin)
2-3 stalks of green onion, sliced
1 bundle of spinach or mizuna
(Note--mizuna is leafy green found in Japanese grocery stores. It holds its shape a little better than spinach especially when heated)
Mushrooms--fresh shiitake or your favorite, thinly sliced
Daikon (Japanese turnip), peeled and grated
Goma (sesame) dipping sauce (from Japanese grocery or Safeway) or
1T white sugar
2T Japanese vinegar
Splash of sesame oil
Whisk everything together. Add a little water to thin out if necessary.
Ponzu dipping sauce (from Japanese grocery or Safeway) or
Equal parts shoyu and lime juice
Dash of Japanese vinegar
Add 1/4 cup of Hon-Tsuyu and 5-6 cups of water in a dutch oven (or a shabu-shabu pot if you have one). Drop in noodles and stir to separate them out. Add mushrooms and let them cook. Add green onions, then spinach/mizuna. Add meat and or tofu. If you use meat, make sure the broth remains nearly boiling.
Spoon out a little broth, vegetables, noodles and meat into individual bowls. Add grated daikon to each bowl. Eat by grabbing some of the items from the bowl, dipping it in your favorite sauce and then eating!