Nabemono or nabe is the Japanese term for hot pot or one-pot dishes and Sukiyaki is one of Japan’s most popular nabe dishes. It combines lots of fresh vegetables; tender tofu, and thin slices of beef, all cooked together in one pot, in a sweet soy-based broth. Slice and dice everything in advance and once the broth is simmering dinner will be ready in ten minutes.
When the broth is ready, each ingredient is added to the pot in its own little pile. Don’t worry if things stick up out of the broth. Once everything is tucked into its own spot and the pot is simmering, you can nudge things down gently into the broth to make sure everything gets nicely cooked and tender.
One of the great benefits of a one-pot dinner, according to the Japanese, is that when people eat from a shared pot, it helps create closeness and warm relationships between them.
- 12-16 oz boneless rib eye steak, frozen for an hour or two (to make it easier to slice) and cut, across the grain, into very thin slices. Set aside in the fridge.
- 1 14-oz Pack firm tofu, drained, cut in half lengthwise, then each long half cut into 9 or 10 slices.
- 1 4-oz package of Japanese cellophane noodles, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to soften, drained and set aside.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed
- 12 shiitake Mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed, patted dry
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups roughly chopped Napa Cabbage,
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup Mirin (sweet rice wine)
- ¼ cup sake
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 1½ cups water
- Have all ingredients washed and cut and ready – steak sliced – noodles softened.
- Put oil in a large skillet and heat over medium high heat till hot, but not smoking. Add sliced onions, scallions, and shiitakes (white side down), keeping them separate from each other, and brown them for about 5 minutes, using a spatula to move them around a bit so they all get some browning. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
- Put soy sauce, Mirin, sake, sugar, and 1½ cups water in a large pot or Dutch Oven. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring (1-2 minutes) until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and carefully place all ingredients into the pot in separate piles, starting with one corner of the pot. I like to start with the heavier things that will stay put: the sliced beef. Then the cubed tofu. Then the onion, scallions and mushrooms. Then the carrots. The cabbage is very bulky but will shrink as it cooks. Finally, clear a little spot, with a wooden spoon, to drop in the softened noodles.
- Turn the heat up to medium high. When it starts to boil, turn it down to a strong steady simmer and use the wooden spoon to gently jiggle the ingredients and nudge them down into the broth, without disturbing the piles, so that everything gets cooked. When the meat is no longer pink and the onions and cabbage are soft, about 5 minutes, the Sukiyaki is ready.
- Divide the Sukiyaki into individual bowls, using tongs to make sure each bowl gets some of each ingredient. Spoon broth into the bowls. Enjoy!