Christmas is just around the corner. Did you already prepare a gift for your loved ones? Do you have any plans for Christmas dinner? Meatloaf, roast chicken, roast turkey? Why don’t you add a Japanese dish to your traditional Christmas dinner this year? Maybe it will become a family favorite!
For family Christmas dinner, I recommend “Sukiyaki.” Sukiyaki is known as a friendship dish in Japan, a one-pot meal which is usually cooked at the table as you eat with your friends. The main ingredients in sukiyaki are beef, which is thinly sliced, and vegetables and tofu. Meat and other ingredients are simmered in a soy sauce based soup.
Here is a sukiyaki recipe, which is fully cooked in the kitchen and served on the table. Some of the ingredients may be available only in Asian grocery stores. But you can do with substitutions. You can use chicken instead of beef. Or for vegetarian, just eliminate meat and add more tofu and vegetables. Enjoy!
- 1 lb. thinly sliced beef (for chicken, cut into bite size pieces)
- 1 package shirataki noodles (made from yam cakes), washed and drained, cut into 3-inch lengths. *This is optional.
- 8 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, cut in half
- 1 pack of enoki mushroom, the bottom trimmed. *If you cannot find enoki, use regular mushrooms and cut in half.
- 1 bunch of scallion, washed and cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1/2 Chinese cabbage, washed and cut into 2-inch wide pieces. *Green cabbage is fine, too.
- 1 pack yaki-tofu (grilled tofu) or firm tofu, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 bunch of shungiku (chrysanthemum greens) if available, washed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
*Other recommended vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, onion, daikon radish, kale, bean sprouts. Try any other vegetables of your preference!
For the sukiyaki sauce you will need:
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sake
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup water
1. Slice the yaki-tofu in half horizontally and cut into bite-size cubes. Place a large sauté pan on a medium heat. Lightly oil the pan. If you use firm tofu, grill the pieces on the pan, turning once, until brown on both sides for about 2 minutes per side. Let them cool. Cut the pieces into bite-size cubes.
2. Put water into a medium saucepan over a high heat and bring to a boil. Add the shirataki and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 minute to lightly cook, then drain and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.
3. Choose a shallow pot, preferably ceramic, which can go from the stove to the table. Or use a chafing dish. Pour soy sauce, sake, sugar, and water into the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add beef and sauté for 1 minute. Add Chinese cabbage, tofu, mushrooms, other vegetables, and return the liquid to a boil. Add the reserved shirataki noodles. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Transfer the pot to a table and serve. Please be careful for the hot pot. For family with children, serve into individual bowls before serving.
If you want to see a professional version of Sukiyaki recipe, check my cookbook “Morimoto The New Art of Japanese Cooking” on page 142, “Chicken Sukiyaki”.