Beef Sukiyaki Hot Pot

Anything goes in a Hot Pot (nabe). You simply can't go wrong! It's a mix of ingredients, cooked in one pot to merge all the flavors, thus creating a euphoric experience. It's easy to make, flexible, comforting, and cozy.

This is soul food from Japan.

The formula for Sukiyaki, one form of nabe, is lightly seared thin slices of beef, combined with a medley of vegetables, then simmered in a broth of sake, soy sauce, and sugar. The beef is rich; the sugar sweet; the soy sauce savory; and the sake adds a punch. Don't worry, the alcohol burns out for the most part leaving a truly signature flavor. Comfort food, I loves. It makes my tummy feel like Autumn, snuggled up in blankets.

As is the beauty of this recipe, I did not follow it to the letter. I couldn't find Enoki mushrooms and didn't feel like having tofu. Tailor it to YOUR liking. I went crazy with veggies and even threw in some shrimp that was left over. The only $ thing was the sake, then again this is not a meal for one.

This recipe recommends Ito Konnyaku noodles, which I could not find at the local grocery store. This noodle's texture isn't for everybody and some leave it out entirely. I served this with steamed jasmine rice. The favorite though is the Japanese rice my roomie used to make. She recommends the following brands: Tamanishiki, Koshihikari, Akitakomachi, and Hitomebore Akitaotome. This rice is short, plump, and soft... Man I miss your cooking Asako!

PS. Sorry about the shortage of pix, this was the weekend I couldn't find my camera charger. I had already stirred the pot- DOH! Check out WOR's photo's - killer as always!

Beef Sukiyaki Hot Pot
from White On Rice who adapted it from Japanese Hot Pots

1 tablespoon Beef Fat Trimmings (fat = flavor)
1 lb Beef Strip Loin or Rib Eye, sliced 1/8″ thick *see note 1 below
8-10 Shallots or 1/2 med. Sweet Onion
1/2 lb Napa Cabbage, sliced *see note 2 below
4 Green Onions or 1 Negi (Japanese Leek or Welsh Onion), sliced on angle in 2″ pieces
4 oz (about 8 pieces) Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed
7 oz (200g) Enoki Mushrooms, trimmed & separated
6 oz (about 1/2 package) Broiled Tofu, cut into 1/2″ sticks
2 cups Junmai Sake (or other amiable sake – no cooking sake please)
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 c Japanese Soy Sauce, better soy sauces really shine in this broth
1 c Arugula leaves, rinsed & in 3″ lengths
1 egg for each person, beaten (optional)

Prep your veggies and meat! You're going to just dump everything in there!

In a 4 1/2 – 5 qt pot (preferably an enamaled cast iron, but use what you’ve got) warm pan over medium heat and add fat trimmings. Render fat for a minute or so, then add beef slices. Try to lay in the slices in a singular layer. Brown each side.

Gather the meat to one side of the pan. Arrange shallots or onion, cabbage, green onions, mushrooms, tofu, and noodles into neat clusters in the pan. Add sake, sugar and soy sauce then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add arugula leaves on top of everything, then cook for 1 minute more (you don't want them soggy, just steamed). Serve in the pot you cooked it in.

One optional way to enjoy this nabe, is to crack and beat an egg in a bowl for each person. As they eat, they can dip each cooked ingredient into the egg, then consume.

*Note 1: You can ask your butcher to slice the meat thinly for you or put the meat in the freezer for 2-3 hours to firm it up, then slice it using smooth, long strokes slicing across the end grain.

*Note 2: To slice the cabbage so they absorb the broth well, lay a stack of leaves flat on a cutting board. Starting at the base end, instead of slicing straight down, slice at a sharp angle, right to left. Repeat every two inches.