I love baking and I like cooking. I fancy myself to be pretty good at cooking thanks to my previous job. I spent a lot of time trying to learn from my superiors and make food that I knew I wanted to eat. Sometimes it was stressful, but I’m thankful for the knowledge I gained.
So, it was only natural that when I came to Japan I would want to tackle some of my favorite dishes here. Sukiyaki is my all-time favorite dish. I could eat it every day and not get sick of it.
I’ve seen countless recipes online, but I wanted to share my overly simple, yet tasty, recipe today.
To start off, you need to gather your ingredients. I haven’t tackled making my own Sukiyaki sauce, so I settle for store bought for now.
– Sukiyaki sauce
– Thinly sliced meat
– Chinese cabbage
– Udon Noodles (optional)
– Egg (optional)
It’s important to note; I don’t measure anything when I make this. Instead, I eyeball it. I decide about how much I think I want (what I made this time will last me 3/4 days) and cook based on that.
These are the ingredients I used. You could hover over each picture to see a description. Usually sukiyaki uses thinly sliced beef, but I often look for the cheapest option at the store and that is normally pork. I don’t mind it and think it tastes just as good. I asked a friend for a recommendation on good tofu for sukiyaki and used her selection (made in Kyushu, which is nice!). She also suggested I use Chinese cabbage instead of normal cabbage, but I think either is ok. And as for the noodles, it’s just my personal preference. Keep ’em or ditch ’em, up to your tastes!
Onward, let’s cook some sukiyaki!
(Before you start cooking your sukiyaki, I suggest starting your rice if you want some. My rice cooker usually takes about 40 minutes.)
1. Get a decently large pot and pour some of the sukiyaki sauce in. I used about 1/4 of the bottle (picture above) at this step.
2. Next, I add the meat. If I feel like there’s not enough sauce to cook the meat, I’ll add a little water at this point.
3. Give it a little bit to cook up. Make sure to stir occasionally so the pieces don’t stick together or to the bottom of the pot.
4. Now, you want to add another 1/4 of the bottle of sukiyaki sauce. I think the sukiyaki sauce can be overpowering, so I usually add equal parts water, if not more. Again, this is something I eyeball, because this is about your tastes. Some people I talk to only use sukiyaki sauce and don’t water it down. (I can’t imagine that!)
5. After that, we want to start adding our vegetables so they can cook. I always likes to add the cabbage (whichever you prefer) first so it can cook through.
(See the mushrooms in there? Yep, I did things out of (my) order when I made it. Doesn’t affect the taste any, but it felt a bit strange to me)
6. Do the same with the mushrooms. I like the big, squishy chunks of mushrooms, so I leave them mostly stuck together, but if you prefer yours to be separate (or a different type of mushroom) feel free to do it as you see fit.
7. Next, chop up that big block of tofu. Chop it however you decide. I don’t mind slightly long chunks, but some people like to split the block in half (horizontally – to make really small cubes) before tossing it in.
8. I let it cook for about 10 minutes. I don’t let it reach a rolling boil, usually once it hits ‘boiling’ I turn the heat down and let it simmer. Make sure you stir it up.
9. When I’m satisfied with the tenderness of the cabbage and how well I think the tofu has soaked up the sauce, I’ll toss in the noodles.
10. I let the noodles soak in the soup for a few minutes (just to warm them up, I buy refrigerated noodles, so they don’t need to thaw or cook). At this point, your rice should be nearing completion. Check on it, don’t let it overcook! My rice cooker automatically goes into warming mode, but even that has a tendency to really dry my rice out, so I try to time the rice finishing as close as I can to the time when I finish cooking.
11. By now your sukiyaki should be finished as well, so all that’s left is to eat up.
Optional: Sukiyaki is often served with a raw egg to dip the vegetables and meat in. This always makes me sick, so when I eat sukiyaki at restaurants I mix it in with the soup so that it cooks, and at home I cut the egg out altogether. So that step is entirely up to you. The noodles, as well, are optional. If you want a little slurp with your sukiyaki, grab some. I’m sure you can use any type of noodle, I just prefer udon noodles. They’re also quite easy to grab with chopsticks.
Try it out and let me know what you think!