Sukiyaki is traditionally eaten in Japanese homes to celebrate something such as birthdays or the end/start of the year. About 50 years ago, meat of this quality was extremely rare and expensive. People used to save up all their wages to eat sukiyaki once a month. Even today, people still give gifts of high quality meat to friends and colleagues who have helped them in some way. There are two main styles of sukiyaki – Kantou (Tokyo area) and Kansai (Osaka area). The Kantou style adds water to the sauce but the Kansai style, which is my favourite and the recipe I am including here, uses the sauce alone, relying on the vegetables to release water but providing an overall stronger taste.
In Sydney, I recently found somewhere that sells wagyu very reasonably, so that is what you can see in my photos. Try and get the thinnest and most tender meat you can find. If you can’t find decent Japanese meat, you can also make this dish with chicken.
1/4 Chinese cabbage
1 leek (only the white part)
1 pack tofu
500g sliced beef (fatty is better)
Beef lard (or oil)
handful of any kind of Asian mushroom (eringi, shitake, enoki)
2 or 3 eggs
8 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp fish stock
First prepare the sauce by mixing the sugar, soy sauce, fish stock powder and sake together, then heating in a microwave at 200w for 2 minutes until the sugar is completely disolved. Then prepare your vegetables by roughly slicing.
Heat a pan on a medium heat and add a drizzle of oil or beef lard. Then gently fry the meat until it starts to turn brown. If it’s good quality beef, you don’t need to worry if there are still some red areas. Then pour the sauce on top.
When the sauce starts to bubble, add all the other ingredients. We normally serve this on a portable stove in the centre of the table so we can continue heating the pan and add more ingredients as we go. To eat, we crack a raw egg into a bowl and dip the various ingredients into this before slurping it up along with a bowl of white rice! The egg goes great with the sauce, but just make sure you’re using super fresh eggs We’ve never had anything in the media about salmonella from raw eggs in Japan and they’ve been part of our diet for years, but I can’t vouch for this in your country so please use your common sense 😉