Sukiyaki is one of the most popular hot pot dishes in Japan. It has a sweet and salty flavor a little bit like teriyaki sauce, but with beef and vegetable in the mix, it has its own Sukiyaki taste people love so much. The word “yaki” means “sautee” or “grill” in Japanese. The word is used because meat is sauteed in the hot skillet. The main ingredient in sukiyaki is usually beef which is thinly sliced. Meat slices and ingredients are simmered in soy sauce based soup. In different regions of Japan, sukiyaki is cooked differently.
Sukiyaki is prepared in different ways in Kanto region and Kansai region. Sukiyaki in Kanto style is based on gyunabe (beef pot), which became a huge hit among people in the Meiji period as the cultural civilization was nationally promoted. A soup base called warishita is prepared with shoyu, sugar, mirin, sake and such, and meat and vegetables and other ingredients are simmered together in the premixed base.
On the other hand, sukiyaki in Kansai style does not use warishita and instead cook meat first, which is seasoned with sugar and soy sauce. Vegetables are then added to the pot, and after boiling down the liquid, sake and water are added. Today, it is common both in Kanto and in Kansai to use raw eggs as a dipping sauce to eat sukiyaki, although this custom originally came from Kansai.
In Sukiyaki, you need thinly sliced beef. Preferably with fat marbled into red meat, such as Kobe (Matsusaka) beef. They are notoriously expensive, but the texture is unbeatable compared to lean red meat. So tender and just yummy! Other than beef, there are some ingredients you might not be familiar with and in some instance it is not available you can have an alternative that would fit in.
How to Prepare?
Arrange ingredients on a large plate and place the plate on the table. Mix soy sauce, sake, sugar, and water to make sukiyaki sauce. Set an electric pan or a skillet on the table. *After this point, cooking is done at the table as you eat. Heat a little oil in the pan. Fry some beef slices, and then pour sukiyaki sauce in the pan. Add other ingredients when the sauce starts to boil. Simmer until all ingredients are softened. It’s ready to eat. Dip the cooked sukiyaki into the raw, beaten eggs if you would like. As the liquid is reduced, add more sukiyaki sauce or hot water.
Sometimes Japanese cooked Sukiyaki beef and vegetable in raw eggs. Sounds gross? But it is not! (well, may be a little) The relatively strong Sukiyaki flavor gets mild with egg, and at the same time, the egg flavor enhances Sukiyaki taste. If you don’t have a Sukiyaki pan nor portable gas stove, don’t worry. You can just cook in a frying pan on stove top, and take it to your dinner table. Either way you’ll enjoy this delicious food.