Kobe Wagyu Beef Sukiyaki
This recipe was inspired by my favorite sukiyaki restaurant in Boulder, a small place called Izakaya Amu. Really traditional sukiyaki is served with a lightly beaten egg that you dip the cooked beef and vegetables in before eating. This gives the food a silky, luxurious texture that’s surprisingly addictive. For my Wagyu sukiyaki, I use beef suet to add a nice fat base and a thicker, chewy udon noodle to soak up the savory sukiyaki sauce. I like the ease of this dish - once the Sukiyaki sauce is made, it is an incredibly simple meal that can be made with any protein and vegetables that you have on hand. If you don’t like to eat beef, use pork, chicken or any of your favorite proteins!
Skill Level: Easy
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
To Make in Advance: Basic Sukiyaki Sauce
1½ pounds kobe beef, very thinly sliced (you can substitute ribeye or angus beef; see Note)
5 ounces shiitake mushrooms - cleaned, trimmed and sliced
½ medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch watercress, stemmed
1 large carrot, shaved into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler
1 cup sugar snap peas (4 ounces), trimmed and string discarded
One 14-ounce block silken extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
18 ounces prepared udon noodles
Two 1-inch pieces beef suet (you can substitute bacon fat or vegetable oil) See Note
½ cup Basic Sukiyaki Sauce, plus more as needed
4 to 6 large eggs, lightly beaten (preferably pasteurized, they will be eaten raw; optional)
Toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish
Arrange the beef, vegetables, tofu and noodles on platters and place on the table around the hot pot.
In a 4-quart hot pot or large saucepan, melt 1 piece of suet over medium-high heat (about 425 degrees for an electric hot pot) until it’s rendered. You may have a bit of cartilage left over, but you can keep it in the pot. Add half of the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Working in two batches, add half of the vegetables and tofu and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
Arrange half of the sliced beef on top of the vegetables and drizzle with ¼ cup of the Sukiyaki Sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the beef begins to turn brown, about 1 minute. Flip the beef and cook for 1 minute more.
Fold the beef into the vegetables and tofu until evenly coated with the sauce. Cook until the beef is tender and almost cooked through, about 1 minute more. If food starts to stick to the bottom of the hot pot, reduce the heat and add a little water to cool it down.
Transfer to the beef sukiyaki to plates and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with individual bowls of lightly beaten egg, for dipping.
Repeat the process with the remaining suet, vegetables, tofu, beef and sukiyaki sauce.
When the vegetables, tofu and beef have been eaten and you are left with just the sauce in the bottom of the hot pot, add the udon noodles and cook, stirring, until heated through and coated with the sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. Add more sauce, if needed. Serve the noodles as the shime (p. TK), or end of meal.
NOTE The trick to very thinly slicing beef is to freeze for up to 4 hours ahead of time so that it is firm and easier to slice. Alternatively, you can purchase sukiyaki or shabu shabu style pre-cut beef at Asian grocery stores or ask your butcher if they can cut it thinly for you. You can also ask the butcher for some suet if you do not have fat to cut off of your meat.