Sukiyaki, with homemade stock
Approx cost: €5+
Approx calories (per serving): n/a
Approx preparation time: 40 mins
In an earlier post I mentioned having an awesome dinner planned and so now that the quinces are out of the way it’s about time we resume “normal service”, and what better way to do that than with a really darn tasty main course. Preparation time on this is usually very short and it’s a whole barrel of fun because you cook it at the table in front of everyone. Price-wise, it can vary a lot. I went for quite traditional ingredients, bought from a local Japanese supermarket, however the ingredients are far from being “set in stone”. The most important things you need are the stock, some type of meat/fish/tofu, and vegetables. The beauty of this dish is that you can swap out everything. Don’t have shiitake mushrooms? Replace them with portobellos. Don’t have beef? Replace it with pork. This enables you to really have this as both a gourmet treat, as well as a much more simple, cheap meal should you so wish.
You will, unfortunately, need a suitable cooking pot. When I was in Japan, it was quite common for people to have a little gas burner, much like this, which they place on their table. It’s powered by a small gas canister which clips into the side and the iron pot sits on the burner on top. I don’t have this, although I do have a large pot which sits atop an electric element. It has a temperature control and can sit on the table, plugged into the wall nearby. It’s a little larger than a sukiyaki pot, so things tend to float around a bit more, but the general effect is the same, and much fun is still had!
So what is Sukiyaki, perhaps you’re wondering? Well, Wikipedia to the rescue:
Sukiyaki is a Japanese dish in the hot pot style.
It consists of meat (usually thinly sliced beef) which is 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 raw, beaten eggs.
Generally sukiyaki is a winter dish and it is commonly found at bonenkai, Japanese year-end parties.
There are a great number of homemade stock recipes around the internet. People put all sorts of stuff in them, including chicken stock (???). You can buy bottles of sauce directly, both ready to use and concentrated, or you can easily make it yourself. The stock is basically soy sauce, sugar and sake (this was even confirmed by the Japanese people working in the store in Paris, so take that, crazy chicken stock adding people!). I’d really recommend you try to eat this once at least – you won’t regret it!
For the stock
This can be varied a lot. I like a stock which isn’t quite so sweet, so I add a little less sugar. You’ll need enough stock to cover the inside of whichever pot you end up using well – about 3-4 cms deep, so make up the recipe accordingly below:
- 5 parts Water
- 3 parts Soy Sauce
- 1 part Sugar
- 1 part Sake or Mirin
For the main ingredients
As you like, but as an example, I will write out what I have above (for 4 people)
- 8-12 Shiitake Mushrooms
- 2 clumps of Enoki Mushrooms
- ~300g Beef
- 2 Onions
- 1 Leek
- 1 handful of Garlic Shoots
- Good handful of bean sprouts
- ~200g Tofu (preferably seared tofu)
- Half a Chinese Leaf Cabbage
- 2 Bell Peppers or similar
- Large handful of noodles (for example Shirataki)
- 1 Egg per person
- Start off by making up the stock. Mix the different parts together until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside while you work on the rest of your ingredients. Trim the soil-covered ends away from the shiitake and enoki mushrooms. Break the enoki mushrooms into smaller-sized clumps and if you like, you can carve little crosses into the top of the shiitake mushrooms (looks pretty!). Cut the onion into thick slices, and the leek too. Slice the beef very thinly, cut the tofu into good sized pieces and slice the bell peppers. If the noodles are dried then you should pre-cook these too, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Chop the cabbage width-ways into 2cm thick slices and roughly chop the garlic shoots. Set everything out on the table where you will eat.
- Start heating y0ur hotpot. Place a few slices of the meat at the bottom of the hotpot and fry it. Releasing the fat from the meat will greatly improve the flavour of the stock.
- Once the meat has cooked, pour in the stock and allow to heat through. Arrange the rest of the ingredients in the pan and start cooking them through. Crack one egg person into a small dish, beat the egg and keep the dish by your plate. As the ingredients get cooked, transfer small quantities to your individual bowl. While still hot, dip the ingredients into the beaten egg and eat. Keep adding more raw ingredients to the stock as you go along. Enjoy