Recipe of Japanese Beef Hot Pot or Sukiyaki
Unlike many other hot pots, sukiyaki doesn’t use a broth bath. Instead, there’s an oil with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. For this dish, use a Japanese sukiyaki pan or a flat-bottomed cast-iron skillet or fry pan, 12 to 14 inches in diameter and 2½ to 3 inches deep. The pan must have a heavy bot- tom to keep the sukiyaki from cooking too fast (even thick-bottomed steel pans cook too quickly). An electric skillet at medium-low to medium heat will also work.
- SERVES 6
- PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES
- 2 pounds well-marbled, boneless sirloin, flank, or strip steak, sliced very thin
- 3 leeks, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch slices
- 1 bunch watercress, large sprigs cut in half
- 12 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, large caps cut in half
- 2 (12- to 14-ounce) packages firm pre-grilled or prebaked tofu, cut into 1½ inch cubes
- 6 teaspoons vegetable oil
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup soy sauce, plus more if desired
- ½ cup sake, plus more if desired
- 6 very fresh eggs (optional), free-range or organic, if possible
Tutorial / How to Make:
- On a large serving platter, arrange the beef, leeks, watercress, mushrooms, and tofu in an attractive pattern, and place the platter on the table.
- Fill a decorative pitcher with 1 quart of tepid water, and place it on the table.
- Put the vegetable oil into a decorative bowl and place it on the table. Do the same with the sugar, soy sauce, and sake.
- Crack 1 egg into each of six small bowls, and place a bowl at each place setting.
- Set up the heat source in the center of the table. Put an empty sukiyaki pan or skillet on the heat source. When the pan is hot but not smoking, add all the oil and heat it until it shimmers. Lay one-third of the steak slices in the pan, and pour in about ½ cup water so the bottom of the pan is just covered.
- Cook until the steak barely starts to lose its pinkness, then scatter the sugar evenly over the top. Stir, then sprinkle the soy sauce and sake onto the steak. Stir again to coat.
- According to his or her taste, each diner should add a few of the other ingredients to the pan from the plate of vegetables and tofu. If they want to use the raw egg dip, they should lightly beat their egg in their own bowl. When the hot ingredients (including the meat) are cooked to their liking, they pluck one piece at a time out of the pan with chopsticks or a fondue fork, and immediately dip it into the egg. When the egg cooks on the surface, the tidbit is ready to eat.
- As the cooking continues, add ½ cup of water to the pan as needed, to prevent the sauce from overly reducing and to keep the pan from drying out. Add more soy sauce and/or sake as you go if you want to adjust the flavoring.
- By its very nature, a hot pot can’t be refrigerated for later and then reused. If you have any leftover ingredients, refrigerate them in separate, tightly sealed containers and save for another use. They should keep for 1 or 2 days.
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