Sukiyaki originates from the Japanese words Suki, meaning "to slice thinly", and Yaki, "to fry, boil, sear." The word itself describes the process that takes place when making this delicious hot pot. I could be wrong, but to me hot pots are to Japan what chicken noodle soup is to Americans. You may find slight variations in methods and ingredients, but all-in-all they seem to be one of the most beloved comfort foods of the nation. Of course, this may in part be due to how easy and affordable they are to make, and did I mention it's a one-pot dish? Simple, straightforward, and great for a weeknight meal.
I first fell in love with the idea of making hot pots when I read the fantastic poem, Sukiyaki by Linda Parsons Marion. Her poem was featured in the Knoxville Writer's Guild anthology, A Tapestry of Voices in 2010. They way she used food to describe her experience with marriage and divorce certainly struck a cord with me personally that year.
In 2013 Linda's poem won first place in a contest on a blog I've grown to love, Eat This Poem. It wasn't until then that I sat down and decided to learn more about this lovely dish. With the help from this post by White on Rice Couple, I've been making hot pots to sooth our soul during the cold months and treat our seasonal allergies through spring ever since.
Saturday night I was able to share my love of hot pots with my perfect mother who we had over for dinner. The recipe is so simple that I started it 10 minutes before she arrived, and we were sitting down to eat less than 30 minutes later. Although we don't include the mushrooms that are traditionally in hot pots, the results are always delicious.
1 lb. beef steak (we prefer well marbled Ribeye or Sirloin)
6 Shallots (thinly sliced)
1/2 lb. Napa cabbage (sliced at an angle)
4-6 green onions (chopped)
2 cups sake (cooking sherry can be substituted if it's Sunday and you live in the South)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable broth (optional)
1 cup of arugula
I start by slicing my shallots and cabbage, then set them to the side to use later. Then I trim any fat off my beef, and proceed with slicing the beef thinly into 1/4 - 1/2 inch even strips. Heat your dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot on medium heat, and toss in your fat trimmings to render some grease. Remove the trimmings, then place beef slices uniformly in the bottom of your pot flipping them until cooked evenly on both sides.
Once your beef has browned move it to one side of your pot. Add your sliced shallots, cabbage, and chopped onions followed by the sake, soy sauce, sugar, and vegetable broth. Cover your pot for about 10 minutes then stir ingredients together. You may chose to let them cook 5-10 more minutes for flavors to incorporate well. Toss in your arugula 1-2 minutes before you remove from the heat.
Sukiyaki is served in the pot your prepared it in. Traditionally eggs are beaten and ingredients are enjoyed after being dipped in the egg, however we simply ladle ours over rice.
You can read the poem, Sukiyaki on the Eat This Poem blog, but I truly suggest treating yourself to a copy of A Tapestry of Voices. It's available on kindle and kindle apps for only $2.99 through Amazon.
Until next time, Enjoy!