I was taught how to make sukiyaki when I first did a homestay in Japan. I loved this dish! I recreated it at home and found that even with the simplest of ingredients, the essential flavor carries through. Sukiyaki is originally intended to be cooked at the table. Ingredients are added as needed and taken by people who want them. If you want the truly traditional experience, beat a raw egg and dip the food in it before carrying them to your mouth. This dish is usually served with a bowl of rice.
It would be very easy to make this dish vegetarian--just skip the beef.
Ingredients (Adjust amounts for your audience and cravings, but easily feeds 2)
Very thinly sliced beef (Macey's sells sukiyaki beef cut very thinly, otherwise asian markets sometimes sell it. If you can't find it, partially freeze a slab of beef and cut it as thinly as you can)
cabbage (chinese cabbage if you have it, regular if you don't) cut into bite-sized chunks
enoki mushrooms (small white mushrooms sold in clusters)
shirataki noodles (clear noodles sold in liquid in the refrigerated section of an asian store)
firm tofu (grilled tofu works best if you can get it)
Any other ingredients you think would be delicious! Very thin carrots would work, mushrooms work, anything in a sweet and savory strew!
For the sauce
mirin (sugar and water if you don't have it)
sugar to taste
1. Prepare the raw ingredients. Thinly slice the beef and cut it into bite-size pieces. Chop the cabbage into bite-size pieces. Chop the dirty ends off the enoki mushrooms, rinse lightly, then break into small clusters. Rinse the shirataki noodles and snip into smaller strands (cutting is optional). Cut the firm/grilled tofu into grippable cubes.
2. Arrange the raw ingredients so they are near the frying pan. You won't be adding them all at once, just replenishing the pot as needed.
3. Prepare a large dish with deep sides. A deep-size frying pan is ideal. Add a small amount of oil for frying and cook the beef for 1 minute, or until it is no longer mostly pink.
4. Once the beef is lightly browned, add 1 cup of soy sauce, 1 cup of mirin, 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir thoroughly. The sauce should be a light brown color. Taste the sauce. If it's...
--Too savory for you, add a hair more water or mirin.
--Too watery, add more soy sauce and a hair of sugar
--Too sweet, add more soy sauce.
Let the sauce cook for at least 30 seconds between additions.
5. Once you have the flavor you like, add the remaining ingredients into sections of the pot. Do not stir the ingredients together. Put a lid on the pot and let it cook on medium heat until the ingredients are soft. The noodles should look brown, the cabbage soft, the tofu light brown, etc.
6. Serve small amounts at a time or take directly from the pot using chopsticks. Recommended with a bowl of white rice.
7. As the pot boils down, add equal parts soy, sugar, and mirin to get the flavor you like. Continue adding ingredients until everyone is happy and full. This cooks a ton of food, so leftovers are likely!