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The Japanese dish sukiyaki is a single-pan dish of braised beef, vegetables, tofu and noodles, served with a dip of raw egg. Real sukiyaki is prepared at the table, on a portable burner, for special occasions.

What is sukiyaki?

The Japanese dish sukiyaki (pronounced “suu-kee-ya-kee”) is a single-pan dish of braised beef, vegetables, tofu and noodles, served with a raw egg dipping sauce.

Sukiyaki is supposed to be homemade – you’ve only really tasted it when you have eaten it at home with a Japanese family. Real sukiyaki is prepared for special occasions at the table, on a portable burner. A good piece of beef with a nice marble effect is cut into slices and braised in kidney fat and a special sauce called warishita. Vegetables, tofu and noodles also go in the sukiyaki pot. You eat ingredients from the pot when they are ready and always put something new in its place – just like you do with fondues. Sukiyaki is all about socialising at the table.

Did you know...

The Sukiyaki Song, a song sung in Japanese by the singer Kyu Sakamoto, scored a number 1 hit in the United States in 1963, even though no one understood it. The song isn’t about sukiyaki, but about someone who walks the street crying with a broken heart at night. The original song can still be found on YouTube and is a karaoke favourite in both America and Japan.

How to make sukiyaki

Sukiyaki is prepared in a shallow cast-iron pot, preferably at a guest-filled table on a burner. Slices of tasty beef are seared in kidney fat and then braised briefly in warishita sauce – a mixture of mirin (rice wine), sake, shoyu (soy sauce), water and sugar. The meat is followed by other ingredients such as cubes of tofu, soaked shirataki noodles, negi (Japanese leek) and mushrooms such as enoki or shiitake. You always take cooked ingredients from the pan, dip them in a raw egg (if you dare) and eat them, and then replace them with new ones. The ingredients that remain in the pan at the end are served with boiled rice.

There are two official sukiyaki styles: Osaka or Kansai style and Tokyo or Kanto style. If you follow the Osaka style, you must first fry the meat slices and eat them while you cook the rest of the ingredients – vegetables, tofu, noodles. The Tokyo style means first preparing everything in the sauce and then eating it from the pan.

In restaurants, sukiyaki is also prepared in the kitchen and served as a single dish.

Also try

Daging smoor is Indonesian braised beef, slightly sweet in taste. It is served with rice or noodles.

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