Beef Sukiyaki
Source: Beef for All Seasons

Serves 4


Sukiyaki is a Japanese stir-fry that is traditionally prepared at the table in a special pan. Guests use chopsticks to serve themselves out of the pan or to cook the meat in the simmering broth, as with fondue. This recipe has been adapted so that it can be prepared quickly in your kitchen. It uses trefoil, a member of the parsley family, which has a long thin stem with many 3-pointed leaves. It has a light flavor somewhat similar to sorrel or celery. Trefoil can be found in some Asian markets but if it is not available, use 3 ounces of sorrel or spinach.


For Sukiyaki:

2 ounces cellophane noodles

3 tablespoons suet or peanut oil

6 scallions, cut into 1-inch slices

10 shiitake mushrooms (about 8 ounces)

8 ounces Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced

4 ounces snow peas (or sliced bamboo shoots or bean sprouts)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 pounds top sirloin, prime or choice grade, very thinly sliced

1/2 cup sake

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 cups Beef Stock, or more as necessary

8 ounces firm tofu

1 bunch trefoil (3 ounces of leaves)

Short-Grain Sticky Rice




TO PREPARE SUKIYAKI: Cook the noodles al dente according to the package directions. Rinse under cold water and cut into 2-inch lengths. Heat half of the suet in a large heavy saute pan or wok over medium-high heat until it begins to melt. Cooking the ingredients in 2 batches, add half of the scallions, mushrooms, cabbage, and snow peas, and toss to coat with hot fat. Stir in half of the sugar and caramelize the vegetables for about 2 minutes. Push the vegetables to the side and add some of the beef in 1 layer, sear until browned on all sides, about 1 to 2 minutes, and then push it aside as it cooks and add more of the beef until you have used half of it; do not overcook.

Add 1/4 cup each of sake and soy sauce, about 1 cup of the stock, and half of the tofu. Bright to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low, add half of the noodles and trefoil, and simmer briefly, until the vegetables are just cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes. Keep warm while you prepare the second batch, repeating the process. Serve in warm bowls with the rice on the side.

WINE SUGGESTION: Serve a robust Pinot Noir from the West Coast, or Japanese plum wine for those with a sweet tooth.

HELPFUL TIPS: Cellophane noodles are called for in this recipe, but traditionally, shiratake - a thin starchy noodle made from a root vegetable - is used. Shiratake is hard to find unless you have a good Japanese market nearby. One option with this recipe is to double the amount of noodles and omit the rice.

Suet is a little-used ingredient these days, but it gives the dish a richness that the oil does not. Traditionally, raw egg is used with sukiyaki, as a dip; it cooks immediately on contact with the hot food. However, due to health concerns, the egg is often omitted and it is not recommended if you are preparing the dish in your kitchen to bring to the table. If you prefer to omit the tofu, add more beef or vegetables.