Is the popular milky soft drink too sweet for cooking, or the perfect addition? We find out!

Every now and then companies that sell popular food products come up with the idea of posting “official recipes”, which give their customers ideas about how to use them in a unique way. KFC, for example, taught us how to use their fried chicken to make rice balls, and Mister Donut shared a recipe for agedashi donuts.

Now the makers of popular Japanese soft drink Calpis have given us a new idea…which sounds kind of crazy. Apparently, you can use the sweet, milky, tangy beverage–which tastes kind of like watered-down yogurt–in a Japanese hot pot! Who knew?

So today we’re going to try making the “Soy Milk and Calpis Healthy Nabe” (nabe meaning “hot pot” in Japanese) and see how it turns out. Let’s hope adding a soft drink to the broth won’t make it too sweet!

According to the official recipe, you need the following ingredients:

● Whitefish (like cod, whiting, pollack, or haddock)
● Napa cabbage
● Shiitake mushrooms
● Carrots
● Mizuna (potherb mustard)
● Leeks
● Tofu
● Soy milk
● Calpis
● Udon
● Dashi stock
● Ponzu vinegar

The only ingredients used to make the broth are Calpis, soy milk, and dashi broth, so it’s a pretty simple recipe. We used a kelp-based dashi broth, but likely any Japanese dashi would do.

First, we cut up the ingredients and put them in the pot.

Then we added the Calpis, the dashi, and soy milk.

We were pretty nervous about putting such a sweet drink into the pot. Here goes…!

The recipe called for five cups each of dashi and soy milk, which was enough to fill our pot to the brim with a milky white liquid. We then added the tofu, cut into rectangles, and turned on the heat to get it boiling.

Once everything had heated through, we added the noodles and brought the liquid back to a boil. Then it was ready to eat!

So…how did it taste? We first tried the soup on its own. The flavor that hit first was the mellow soy milk, and the Calpis came after, leaving a sweet aftertaste. It was only faintly sweet, and combined with the umami of the vegetables and the fish, the broth turned into a simple and mild soup.

Since we only used dashi and no other salted broths, we couldn’t help but feel like the soup, when eaten with the rest of the ingredients, dropped into the background. It had too light a flavor to stand out very much. But that, my friends, is where the ponzu came in. A little bit of that tart acidity really tied the whole thing together.

We were genuinely worried that putting Calpis in a nabe broth would be too weird, but the sweetness it added was gentle and worked to give the soup a nice, mild flavor. Honestly, we shouldn’t have been surprised at the flexibility of Calpis, after mixing beer and Calpis yielded good results.

With it being so cold out, it’s definitely the season for hot pot, so if you’re interested, shake up your dinner rotation with this Soy Milk and Calpis Healthy Nabe!

Reference: Calpis
Images © SoraNews24

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