The term ‘sukiyaki’ refers to thinly sliced beef cooked with various ingredients in a shallow cast-iron pan. Typically, this dish is prepared at the table in front of the diners, creating a festive mood among family and friends.
- 600g well-marbled sirloin beef, thinly sliced
- 6-10 scallions, green and white parts
- 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 1 bunch fresh shungiku (edible chrysanthemum leaves) or spinach
- 2 packages fresh enoki mushrooms (slender white)
- 1 package shirataki (glass noodles)
- 2 boiled (tinned) bamboo shoots
- 1 cake tofu (bean curd)
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup mirin
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/3 cup beef stock or dashi stock
Tip: Serve everyone a cup of beaten raw egg as dipping sauce. While this is not essential, most Japanese enjoy this egg sauce.
- Wash and trim the scallions, then cut diagonally into 5 cm lengths. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and slash the caps decoratively.
- Rinse the greens well and trim away stems and any flowering or wilted leaves. Rinse the slender enoki mushroom clumps under cold water, then shake off excess; trim away bottom half of stems.
- Arrange all washed and cut vegetables attractively on a large platter and set aside.
- Drain off liquid from package of shirataki glass noodles and cut noodles to 5-7cm lengths. Place noodles in a strainer and pour boiling water over them. Drain and cool noodles to room temperature.
- Drain bamboo shoots; slice into vertical wedges that look like combs. Remove any white calcified material between ‘teeth’ of the combs.
- Drain off any packing liquid from the bean curd tofu. Cut the cake in half lengthwise then across twice to yield 6 cubes.
- In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sugar and stock and bring to a boil while stirring. Transfer to an attractive pitcher to bring to the table.
- If you can cook at the table, do so. Heat a cast-iron skillet and melt some suet (beef fat) in the pan, or add a few drops of oil, to keep the food from sticking.
- Start the cooking with scallions, pushing them aside as they brown slightly. Add the meat. Push aside as it turns colour and add some braising sauce and stock to the pan. Add the mushrooms and other ingredients, cooking all briefly.
- Each diner can then help themselves as the food cooks.
- As the food finishes, replace with fresh ingredients from the platter. Adjust the amount of braising liquid as the food cooks.
- Save the glass noodles and tofu for later on, when a fair amount of gravy is left in the pan for these porous ingredients to soak up.
- Eat and enjoy the company.
Images © Hotel Okura Amsterdam