16 January 2006

The charms of sukiyaki

The arms of Sukiyaki
Are all I long for since I left Nagasaki*

Veggie plate for sukiyaki Sukiyaki set-up
Sizzle sizzle Sukiyaki, hot and fresh
Dip in egg Sukiyaki encore

Sukiyaki for dinner on our new Iwatani butane stove (bought following that bloody power outage on NY's eve... I'm still annoyed, is it obvious?) Further purchase of a sukiyaki pan made today (a semi-holiday for P and I), along with the necessary ingredients from Mitsuwa on Centinela and Venice. (We went in search of a pot for steamboat on CNY's eve, but as usual, came home with something unexpected but good all-the-same.)

Watching Totoro now, so recipe and more details later...

We had a sukiyaki-hunt in SF recently, when my mother decided that she just had to have some (OK, we wanted some too, but any excuse, eh). We even went as far as looking for Japantown in SF just to get some, but were left sorely disappointed with the sukiyaki we found there. In hindsight, it was listed under the "noodles" section of the menu, which could have been some indication that it wasn't going to be kosher. To make matters worse, we found another restaurant with sukiyaki on the menu just round the corner from our hotel in the opposite direction from Union Square. [kicks self in butt]

Since then, we've craved the sweet and saltiness of the sukiyaki base. The purchase of the portable butane stove from Ijiya a fortnight ago was the first necessary purchase. And today's Mitsuwa adventure saw us drooling at the meat counter, where we dithered between getting shabu shabu or sukiyaki cuts of lovely Angus beef. The marbling on the slices was beautiful, and if it wasn't quite so gross, I'd wallpaper my kitchen with it. Yah, just kidding.

What tipped the balance in favour of sukiyaki was the availability of a none-too-expensive sukiyaki pot. It's not as fancy as the cast iron versions, but has the slight benefit of having a lazy person-friendly non-stick coating. And the photo of sukiyaki on the front was a ready-made shopping list: enoki (straw mushroom), shiitake (most well-known Japanese mushroom), leafy cabbage (called Napa cabbage here, and Chinese leaf in the UK), some funky looking leaves which could be chrysanthemum leaves but probably aren't, giant spring onions (meant to be leek, but couldn't see any, so bought Tokyo onion instead), tofu (but idiot here bought regular tofu instead of grilled tofu, so she had to fry it), and some probably-none-too-kosher carrots.

Preparation was minimal. Sliced the onions (diagonally as per photo on box), trimmed the bottoms off the enoki (to remove the roots still bound to the growing medium), trimmed off the stalks of the shiitake and cut a wee asterix on top, trimmed the leafy veggies into manageable pieces, carved the carrots into hard orange sakuras and fried the tofu (should have bought the grilled tofu, dammit). Realised that I forgot to get some shirataki noods, and got the remnant saifun (from the random Japanese dish dinner), and stuck it on the plate too.

As for the cooking, easy peasy and extremely entertaining. (easily amused...) Heat the pan. Add some oil (and butter if being naughty). Fry the beef slices very quickly on each side. I took them off at this point because I hate over-cooked beef. Pour in a sploosh of sake (about 3 tbsp, according to about.com), some sugar (I used 2 tbsp), and soya sauce (again, used only 1-1/2 to 2 tbsp of the recommended 3... don't like too much salt). Add half the veggies (or the pot gets too darn full and nothing touches the sauce), and pour in a cup of dashi stock. Return the beef to warm through. Crack an egg into a bowl, and mix. (OR leave out the egg if you fear the dreaded Salmonella. Damn that Edwina Currie...) As the various ingredients cook, dip in egg and apply to face. Since I overestimated what we needed, we had enough to feed four, and had a second round**.

* Not terribly PC, but still comes to mind everytime I have sukiyaki...
** We also did something quite naughty, and added some rice to the pot at the end. Ach, I can't help it. It's in my nature to add rice to any thick soup. It's those years of training via Chinese steamboat...

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Cross posted on akatsukieats.

2 comments:

suzanne said...

van wie is het liedje waar je de eerste 2 zinnen boven je recept hebt staan??
ik heb het ooit zelf gehad maar ik kan de cd niet meer vinden en kan het op het internet ook niet meer vinden

bramble said...

I quoted from the silly English version of the song by the Blue Diamonds. The original Japanese song has nothing to do with sukiyaki.

See the ever-useful wikipedia site:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyaki_(song)

And in Dutch, with the help of babelfish:

Ik citeerde van de dwaze Engelse versie van het lied door de Blauwe Diamanten. Het originele Japanse lied heeft niets met sukiyaki te doen. Zie de ooit-nuttige wikipediaplaats:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyaki_(song)