There are two main types of sukiyaki: Kanto (eastern) style, and Kansai (western) style. This recipe is the Kansai style, in which you cook the beef with sugar first.
Photographed by Hideo Sawai
Beans & Tofu
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 500 g thinly sliced beef (for sukiyaki)
- 2 onions
- 2 blocks grilled tofu (600 g)
- 200 g shirataki
- 12 pieces fu
- 1 package fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 3 Japanese green onions (thick)
- Beef tallow, as desired
- Eggs, as desiredNote
Use pasteurized eggs if you have any concerns about consuming raw eggs.
- Udon noodles (boiled), as desired
- Soy sauce
Cut the onions into half-rounds 1 cm thick. Cut one block of the grilled tofu in half along its length, then cut each half into slices 2 cm thick, and place the onion and tofu on a large serving plate.
When arranging the ingredients on a plate, placing solid items like the onion or grilled tofu on it first will make it easier to keep everything steady on the plate.
Boil the shirataki and transfer them to cool water, then squeeze out any excess moisture and cut them into easy-to-eat pieces. Place the fu in water to rehydrate until soft, then squeeze out any excess moisture. Place the shirataki and rehydrated fu on the same plate as the onion and tofu.
Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and cut into slices 1 cm thick. Cut the Japanese green onion diagonally into pieces 4 cm wide, and place the shiitake mushroom and green onion slices on the serving plate as well.
Cut the beef into easy-to-eat pieces and arrange on a separate plate, and prepare the beef tallow, eggs, and seasonings at the table.
Heat a cast-iron pot. Add the beef tallow and melt to coat, then add 2-3 pieces of the thinly sliced beef, making sure they don't overlap, and sprinkle sugar on top as desired.
For sukiyaki, it's crucial to cook the beef slowly and gently! Don't touch the beef until it browns and begins to release from the surface of the pot on its own.
Continue to cook over medium heat until the beef is browned and the sugar has melted and caramelized.
Cooking some of the beef at the beginning helps give its rich flavor to the other ingredients cooked later, for a surprisingly delicious finished result.
Add onion, grilled tofu, shirataki, and other ingredients that contain a lot of moisture to the pot in a single layer, and season to taste with sugar, soy sauce, and sake.
Season each ingredient with small amount of sugar and soy sauce. This will make it easier to get the amount of seasonings just right, as opposed to adding the seasonings all at once. Add sake occasionally to prevent burning.
Add the remaining ingredients, continuing to season a small amount at a time as you do so.
When the ingredients in the pot have stewed somewhat, add the remaining beef one slice at a time, spread out over the top, and continue to season a small amount at a time.
Rather than cooking the beef over direct heat, spreading it out on top of the other ingredients at the end allows it to cook very gently.
Eat dipped in beaten egg, starting with the cooked-through ingredients. As you eat the contents of the pot, continue to add more ingredients, seasoning a small amount at a time as you do so, and spreading some slices of beef on top.
Bear in mind that as you repeat this process, the contents of the pot will become progressively more strongly seasoned, so make sure to gradually use less of the seasonings as you go.