Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sukiyaki Hot Pot

Sukiyaki is a Japanese style hot pot consisting of meat (usually thinly sliced beef), or a vegetarian version made only with firm tofu, slowly cooked or simmered at the table, alongside vegetables and other ingredients, in a shallow iron pot in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Before being eaten, the ingredients are usually dipped in a small bowl of beaten raw eggs.

Generally sukiyaki is for the colder days of the year and it is commonly found at bōnenkai, Japanese year-end parties. There is a Japanese saying that says when you and your friends eat out of a same pot, your bond with them will become stronger. Let's then invite our friends or disfunctional family members and eat Sukiyaki together.

Ingredients: dried Shitake mushrooms, cabbage (preferably Chinese cabbage), thinly sliced beef, Japanese sweet potato noodles (konnyaku: jelly style noodles contained in a plastic bag with water), firm tofu, fish cake, Enoki mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, green onion, regular button mushrooms, eggs, soy sauce, salt, chicken base, mirin, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger powder

1. Put dried Shitake mushrooms in warm water and let if soften up for 30 minutes.

2. Take all your ingredients out of your refrigirator. :)

3. Chop all the ingredients into small pieces.
This is Enoki mushroom. Cut off the dirty root part and throw it away.
Firm tofu

Fish cake (Oden)
Put them on a single dish and bring it next to the pot.

4. Boil water.

5. Using soy sauce, mirin, chicken base, sugar, sesame oil, salt, and sugar, you are not going to make the soup base.

For my version with 3 cups of water, I added 1 table spoon of chicken base.

4 tablespoons of mirin and soy sauce. Keep tasting until it's right.

Add little bit of salt, ginger powder, 2 table spoons of sesame oil and sugar. Make sure you keep tasting until it tastes right to you. Some people like it sweeter, some people don't, for example.

6. Now put those ingredients into the soup base once it heats up.

This is the picture of Konnyaku, a Japanese sweet potato noodle bag. Make sure you put all the juice inside the bag into your pot as well.

If you go to an Asian market, you can easily find those thin cut beef slices. Some are even labeled as Sukiyaki beef. If there is none in your neighborhood, you can ask your butcher at a market to slice them for you or try to slice them yourself at home. When you do it, make sure you slice it when the beef is semi-frozen so it will cut easily.

So once you add them all, organizing them section by section (good presentation always makes your food more appealing regardless of the flavor... before eating at least that is.)

Keep heating up the pot until the ingredients are fully cooked, especially the beef.

For the raw egg side dish, you put an egg in a small bowl and beat it.

Then dip your beef or other ingredients into your raw egg before eating.
I'm sure some people do not find this appetizing. It's perfectly fine. In that case, you can use Japanese sesame sauce and vinegar sauce. For vinegar sauce, which is called Sambai-Zu, it is used for dipping vegetables. You mix with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 talespoon of rice vinegar, and sugar. For sesame sauce, which is called Gomadare, you mix with 6 tablespoons white sesame seeds, 200 ml dashi, 5 tablespoons sake, 1 tablespoon mirin, 1 teaspoon sugar, 3 tablespoons soy sauce.
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