Sukiyaki Beef Udon is a homestyle Japanese Hot Pot (nabemono) recipe with delicious beef, mushrooms, udon noodles and vegetables in a rich soy mirin dashi broth cooked at the table family style.
When the weather gets chilly outside, there is nothing like a delicious pot of homemade Beef Sukiyaki Udon to warm you right up. If you are feeling cold, tired and can hardly keep your eyes open to function in the kitchen, the pure and healthy warming ingredients of a beef sukiyaki is sure to please.
You are just going to love Sukiyaki (すき焼き) because…
Fun in interactive dinner to enjoy with family and friends
Easy to prepare
On your table in under 30 minutes
Great way to use up those little bits and bobs of vegetables in your crisper
Warming and good for your spleen qi
What is Nabemono?
Have you ever eaten sukiyaki, shabu shabu, Chankonabe, Yudofu, oden or any other regional specialties made in Japan? If you have, they are all part of a large group of recipes called nabemono or sometime nabe for short. In Japanese, this term nabemono can be loosely translated to “things in a pot”. The “things” in the pot can be different and so can the broth. However, we know one thing for sure that everything is delicious. The concept of a hot pot is common in many cuisines. Be sure to try our Simple Spicy Thai Hot Pot or our Chinese Heart of Fire (huoguo) hot pot.
What is difference between Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu?
Both Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu are a type of nabemono Hot pot but the main difference in the broth. Shabu Shabu is made with a very simple kombu (seaweed) broth and is a very light and delicate broth. Most generally, people enjoy dipping their shabu shabu in different savory sauces after cooking in the pot.
Sukiyaki Beef Udon is a little sweet and savory flavorful broth and does not require any additional sauces but sometimes people like to dip into raw egg.
What is Sukiyaki?
Sukiyaki is a delicious type of nabemono made with thin slices of beef, mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, vegetables, tofu, noodles and this rich flavorful sweet and savory broth made with soya sauce, mirin and dashi.
Did you know that there are two main type of sukiyaki?
- Kansai style sukiyaki is made by first grilling the thin sliced beef with a little sugar to brown before adding the broth and the rest of the ingredients.
- Kanto Style sukiyaki gets the broth going in the pot and adds all the ingredients at once. They do not brown their meat first.
Our dear friend from Osaka, Yuko-san, taught us her Kansai version of sukiyaki beef udon from Osaka.
What ingredients are generally used to make sukiyaki?
Ingredients and broth ingredients vary from region to region and from family to family. You can actually use any vegetables you have in your crisper.
Negi (Japanese leek)
Napa cabbage or any vegetables in your crisper
udon (or noodles of choice)
How to make Decorated Carved Mushrooms?
It is not required that you carve and decorate your mushrooms. However, look how cute are these little guys are? Take your knife at a 45 degree angle and cut into mushroom about 1/16 of an inch and then in the opposite side do the same. You will then turn your mushroom and carve two more sections so that it looks like a flower.
Kawaii means cute in Japanese. These little carrot flowers are super cute but absolutely not required. Alternatively, you can slice your veggies and pop them in the pot and call it a day.
However, we spent many days making bento boxes for the boys so we have all these cute little cutters and tools from the Hakyuyen (Japanese Dollar) stores. If you want to make a design or a flower and don't have a vegetable stamper, you can peel your carrot and cut a 45 degree both ways. Then, cut along 3 sides of the carrot and slice. You will have a cute flower. On your next adventure to Hong Kong, check out Shanghai Cooking Street this is a must try for any foodie. You will find a galore of cute food stamps .
Udon for Noodles Without Borders!
Welcome dear friends to another fantastic noodles without borders edition. Every first Tuesday of every month, Jas from All That’s Jas and Healthy World Cuisine bring to you a noodle recipe from around the world. If you have not guessed it by now, today we are visiting Japan. Come and join in on the fun. If you make one of our noodle recipes or one of your own use the hashtasg #NoodlesWithoutBorders on Instagram and tag @hwcmagazine and @allthatsjas on Instagram for a chance to be featured on our stories. Hop on over to All That’s Jas to see what country and recipe she is making today.
Easy Substitutions for Hard to Find Japanese Ingredients
Traditionally Sukiyaki Beef Udon will also have negi (Japanese leek) and chrysanthemum leaves which are both very difficult to find outside of Japan. We substituted green onions for the negi or you can use leeks. In addition, we used bok choy instead of chrysanthemum leaves. If you can find chrysanthemum leaves, they impart a delicious slight bitter note to the broth that is quite addictive. Only plunge the leaves in the sukiyaki broth a moment or two to cook.
Mirin is a type of Japanese rice wine that is sweet and is used for cooking. In the US, it is difficult to find the REAL mirin but you can find Aji-mirin (tastes like mirin) which is rice wine with added sugars. A very important note the REAL mirin is the best, 2nd choice is Aji-mirin.
If you cannot find either, you can use a sweet marsala wine with a little additional sugar to mimic mirin. We used Aji-mirin for this recipe. Please note that Aji-mirin in our opinion is sweeter and savorier that the real mirin, so you will have to adjust the seasonings to your own personal preference.
There are 3 kinds of sake. First there is the expensive delicious drinking sake. Second there is cooking Sake which is slightly sweetened. We used cooking sake for our Sukiyaki Beef Udon. There is also a low sodium cooking sake and this type would be preferred, if you can find it. If you use the expensive drinking sake, then you will need to add a little extra sugar to make your sukiyaki the flavor profile you are looking for.
Another big finding is that using tamari sauce is super salty compared to regular soy in this recipe. If using tamari, reduce the amount to ⅓ of this recipe.
Hon-dashi comes in granules and you just add water to make the broth. You can find hon-dashi online and at many supermarkets around the world. If you have kombu and bonito flakes, you can make your own dashi at home. It’s all about the umami.
Sukiyaki Raw Egg Dip: Yes or No?
In the US, unpasteurized eggs carry the risk of salmonella. Did you know that they do not have salmonella in Japan? I remember walking into many grocery stores and the eggs would not be refrigerated but just out at room temperature. Coming from the US, this was a shock to see even chicken sashimi on the menu there. Chickens and eggs are very is safe to eat in Japan. When we are visiting Japan, we enjoy the raw egg dip with our Sukiyaki Beef Udon. If you want to have the egg dip and you are living outside of Japan, you will need to make sure the eggs are pasteurized.
Where’s the Beef?
Do you know where all the delicious flavor comes from in the recipe? It is all the little crispy bits from the beef caramelizing on the bottom of the pan. After we add the broth, we use our chopsticks get all the delicious bits and bobs off the bottom of the pan.
We used chipped thinly sliced beef for this recipe by Kroger. They call beef shaved steak and it is the same cut as what you would find in a cheese steak sandwich. In Japan, you would use a delicious expensive fatty beef thin slices that are super expensive. However, you can use thinly sliced short ribs or other beef if you cut it super thin. If you are slicing your own beef, freeze your beef first as it makes it easy to cut it super thin.
If you are looking for other nourishing Japanese recipes, be sure to try our…
Sukiyaki Beef Udon
- ½ cup mirin
(Mirin is Japanese sweet wine. Aji-mirin is what we used. As a substitute, you can just use dry sherry or sweet marsala. Or you can dissolve a small amount of sugar in a little white wine or sherry)
- ½ cup sake
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 2 cups dashi broth
(we used dried hon-dashi and added water to the granules as directed)
- 2 tsp granulated sugar or low glycemic sugar alternative
- 1 tbsp oil
- 12 ox sukiyaki beef
sliced paper thin (chuck ribs, sirloin steak, shaved beef with slight marbling or wagyu beef)
- 2 tsp granulated sugar or low glycemic sugar alternative
- 8 oz tofu firm- diced (optional)
- 2 cup napa cabbage cut into 2-inch slices (or other fresh greens of choice)
- 8-12 shiitake mushrooms fresh whole or sliced
- 3 green onions cut in slices
- 1 carrot
peeled and sliced
- 1 pack udon noodles per person frozen (soaked in hot water and drained and set in individual bowls just before serving)
- Prepare your portable burner and iron skillet, hot pot device or all in one cooker in the center of the kitchen table. (If you do not have a portable burner or all in one cooker, you can make on the stovetop.)
Make your sukiyaki sauce.
- In a bowl combine the following items; mirin, sake, soy sauce, dashi broth and sugar or sugar alternative of choice. Give it a taste. If you like your broth a little sweeter, add a little more sugar. On the other hand, if you want it saltier, add a little more soy sauce. The flavors of the broth will intensify while they are cooking. Our preferred method is to wait and taste the broth after you add the other ingredients and reassess. Stir well and set aside.
Prepare the components for your Sukiyaki Beef Tofu.
- Dice your tofu into 1-inch cubes. Set Aside.
- Slice your napa cabbage into 2-inch sections. Set aside.
- Prepare your mushrooms by either slicing or keep whole and removing the stem. If you desire, you can take a moment to make a flower design on top of each whole mushroom. Take the edge of a sharp paring knife at a 45-degree angle and slice both sides to create a small crevice on the top of the mushroom. Criss cross the process 3 times to make a flower design. Totally optional but super cute. (See post above for step by step tutorial). Set aside.
- Chop green onions and set aside. If you can find negi (Japanese leeks) this is preferred. However, green onions or western leeks work fine as well.
- Wash other green vegetable of choice. Traditional sukiyaki is usually made with chrysanthemum leaves. However, this can be very difficult to find outside of Japan so other green vegetables are welcome. Clean out your crisper. Any green vegetable would be delicious in this recipe. Set aside.
- Slice carrots and set aside. We used a cute little flower stamp for our carrots but you can just slice as desired.
- Set your frozen udon noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles and allow them to unthaw for just 1-2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cool water and drain again. Set aside.
Cook your Sukiyaki Beef Udon
- Heat oil in iron skillet on your portable burner or other hot pot all in one device. Add thin beef slices and 2 teaspoons of sugar (Until lightly golden brown) (A shabu shabu or hotpot type of pan works great as this is usually served and cooked at the dining room table and cooked in front of your guests)
- Pour prepared Sukiyaki sauce pour over beef. Turn up your heat to high to bring to a light boil.
- Add the prepared tofu, mushrooms, carrots and udon noodles first. Then add napa cabbage and green onions to the sukiyaki broth pot. Taste the broth after you add the other ingredients and reassess. If you want it sweeter, add a little more sugar. On the other hand, if you want it savorier, add more soy sauce. If it is too salty for your palate, add a little more dashi or water. The sauce flavors intensify with cooking. We like to check on it about 5-8 minutes into the cooking process. Cooking time is about 10-15 minutes.
- Ladle beef and vegetables and broth over the udon noodles and serve at table. Add more of the vegetables and mushrooms a little at a time and cook to serve as people help themselves to the sukiyaki. (Purpose of cooking just a little at time is to keep the items fresh and not overcooked)
- Enjoy Sukiyaki Beef Udon with family and friends around your kitchen table. If you desire, you can dip sukiyaki components into a pasteurized beaten egg. (This is the traditional method in Japan)
- Eat sukiyaki with chop sticks and make sure you slurp your noodles. In Japan, slurping your noodles is a complement to the chef. (To really enjoy noodles while they are hot, one must slurp them in while take a cooling intake of breath. Go ahead and give it a try).