Finally…sukiyaki donburi

Sukiyaki don

When I worked in Manila eons ago, there was this fast food chain that specialized in donburi – Japanese rice bowls. One of my favorites was the sukiyaki don. I’ve long tried to find this dish in other restaurants but most donburi(s) offered were the typical katsudon, tempura don or gyudon (slice beef and onions). Traditionally, sukiyaki is a nabemono (hotpot) dish prepared table-side and seemingly requires a long preparation time.This makes me wonder if the sukiyaki don from the fast food chain was just invented specially for their menu.

Over the years, I have tried making sukiyaki at home and most recently, when I was exploring the umami flavor of dashi. I’ve also resigned to the fact that: to make this fare I had to make it with the broth and just top that over rice.

Imagine my glee when I browsed Harumi’s Japanese home cooking and my eyes zeroed in on sukiyaki donburi!

I blinked! No way! So it appears that sukiyaki don is most likely a Japanese housewife’s version of quick sukiyaki. Instead of going through the rituals of preparing this hot pot, it’s as simple as sauteing the ingredients. I think the key here is Harumi’s All-purpose soy sauce which is already infused with kombu thereby eliminating the need for a broth.

Local Sources:

Tokyo Market2820 W. Cary Street, Ste B, RVA(804) 353-2078
For Japanese condiments. This is where I get my kombu, sake, shiratake noodles & mirin and they occasionally have this Japanese oyster sauce which actually taste like oyster.
Belmont Butchery 15 N. Belmont St, RVA (804) 422-8519
Thin-sliced beef. Tell them it’s for hotpot dishes.
Tan-A6221 W Broad Street, RVA (804) 285-3569
Thin-sliced beef sometimes in the freezer section. But if you are lucky they may have them fresh. Also a source for Japanese ingredients (same as Tokyo market) and some hard to find Asian herbs like shiso leaves.

*Note. I like well-marbled meat such as the rib-eye for this. You can also buy a chunk of beef and stick it in the freezer until semi-frozen, around 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the meat and your freezer. This should make it easier to cut. Slice against the grain.

*I also used sweetened shiitake mushrooms instead of enoki. I had to adjust the sugar and the soy sauce to attain the flavor I wanted.

Related post:

The umami of dashi for an explanation of some of the ingredients.

basic ingredients for sukiyaki don

Sukiyaki Donburi

Serves 2

1 cup spring onions
2 1/4 tablespoons shungiku, if available or arugula
1 cup shirataki noodles or thin rice noodles
1 2/3 cup enoki mushrooms
1/4 lb. thinly sliced beef
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
1/2 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 tablespoon sake
3 tablespoons Harumi’s All-Purpose Soy Sauce (recipe to follow)
1 3/4 cup hot cooked rice
pickled ginger (beni shoga)- to taste

Cut the spring onions diagonally into 1/2-inch thick pieces and then chop the shungiku into 1 1/2-inch lengths.
Lightly cook the shirataki noodles and cut into short, easy-to-eat pieces
Chop the bottom off the clump of enoki mushrooms and then cut the clump in half.
In a nonstick frying pan, lightly cook the beef and spring onions. Add the mirin, sugar, sake and Harumi’s all-purpose soy sauce. Then add the shirataki noodles and enoki mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes. Finally add the shungiku.
Serve the rice bowls with the other cooked ingredients on top. Garnish with a little pickled ginger.

Sweetened shiitake mushrooms

6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in a 1/4 cup water until soft
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon superfine sugar

Soak the mushrooms in warm water until soft, then lightly squeeze to remove any excess water, reserving the water. Discard the mushroom stalks and slice each one into 6 pieces. Place in a small pan, add the reserved water, soy sauce, mirin and sugar, and simmer until most liquid has evaporated.

Harumi’s All-Purpose Soy Sauce
make slightly more than 1 2/3 cup:

6-inch piece dried kombu
1 2/3 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 tablespoon dried fish flakes (katsuo bushi)

With a damp cloth, wipe the dried kombu to remove excess saltiness and then pat dry. Put the soy sauce and kombu in a small pan and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
Place the pan on a low heat and add the mirin and sugar (making sure the sugar dissolves). Just before it comes to a boil, take out the kombu and skim the surface, if necessary. Bring to a boil, add the dried fish flakes, then turn off the heat when it comes back to a boil again. Leave to cool and strain. Pour into a sterilized bottle.
This will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

6 thoughts on “Finally…sukiyaki donburi

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