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September 08, 2010

Sukiyaki for the Soul

Pork Sukiyaki.


We've had friends staying with us for the last 2 1/2 weeks. With belly laughs over old stories, conversations to carry on, places to visit, and kids streaking around in circles...I haven't really felt like blogging much lately. Sorry about that! Thankfully I had a few extra posts stored up for just such an occasion, that have carried me through the last couple weeks.

Our friends Bethany and Jimmy, recently moved home from Japan. They have lived there the last two years with their little girl, teaching English in the small mountain town of Funehiki and immersing themselves in the culture. Japan offered gracious new friends, new experiences and foods, a bilingual 5  year-old, and at times...hard life lessons. They are truly thankful for their time overseas, and find themselves a little culture-shocked to be back in the states!

Of the many cultural difference we've discussed, the FOOD as you can imagine, was quite different! The Japanese diet includes much more fresh produce than Americans generally eat, lots of protein, and very few sweets.

Bethany explained that cooking in Japan was quite an adventure! Ovens are usually too small for cookie sheets or 9X13 inch dishes, and meat is ALWAYS pre-cut into thin slivers at the market. She had to adapt many of her family favorites to compensate for the lack of classic "American" ingredients and learned to cook simple Japanese dishes. This is one she shared with me last week!


Sukiyaki (ski-ya-kee) is a traditional dish usually cooked on a "hot-plate" at the table. It's a very social meal. Families and friends circle the sukiyaki pan stirring with chopsticks and taking bites as the components are ready! The meat (usually paper-thin pork or beef) and veggies are poached in a sweet sake-based sauce and served over sticky rice, once they've simmered down.


The dish looks prettiest when first put into the pan, but the muddled brothy aftermath is the true show-stopper! As I don't own a hot-plate, we piled around our kitchen island and served up the steamy mixture to both families. Everyone sat slurping and Mmmming over the sukiyaki in a way that let me know I'd be making this again and again!


Most of the ingredients were easy to find. The only issue we had was getting our hands on Konnyaku noodles, a yam starch, gelatinous noodle used widely in Japan. We never could find the noodles, but did find a block of Konnyaku and cut it into thin strips. It's considered a health food and has almost no flavor. I believe it's added simple for it's funky texture. Bethany said it could be skipped or easily substituted for another veggie!

Sommer

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. ~Oprah Winfrey

Pork Sukiyaki

1- 1 /12 lbs. thinly sliced pork loin
12 oz. shitake or crimini mushrooms
6-8 oz. Enoki Mushrooms
2 bunched large green onions, greens removed and cut into 1 pieces
1/2 head of napa cabbage, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cup baby carrots, cut into quarters by length
12 oz. firm tofu, cut into cubes
9 oz. Konnyaku noodles
1 Tb. oil

Sauce:
2/3 cup Shoyu (soy sauce)
6 Tb. Sake
2/3 brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water

Flash freeze the pork for 30 minutes so it is slightly firm, this will enable you to cut it VERY thin, without moving around so much! 


Prepare all the veggies. In Japan they like to cut little designs in the mushroom tops! We stuck with simple Xs.


Mix the Sukiyaki sauce. Heat a large skillet to medium-high. Add a tablespoon of oil and a few pieces of meat. stir the meat around moving the oil over the bottom of the skillet.


Then add about a 1/3 inch of sauce to the skillet. Pile the meat, tofu, noodles and veggies in the skillet.


Allow the ingredients to cook down for several minutes--stirring occasionally until it's cooked through. Remove the sukiyaki and serve over sticky rice (sushi-style rice) and repeat with the rest of the ingredients!

Serves 4+.


Pork Sukiyaki on Foodista

45 comments:

  1. This looks so good! Belly-aching laughs are the best.

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  2. looks very tempting and healthy this dish!

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  3. It sounds amazing - I would love to try this very soon!

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  4. Reminded me of the bento box, minus the box. Looks too good to eat, almost. Almost!

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  5. Sukiyaki is delicious! Love the way your friend arranged all the ingredients. Those konnyaku noodles are called shirataki and I do have a picture of it in my post on sukiyaki.

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  6. Yum, this does look delicious, sounds like a fun dish to try at home, thanks for sharing and I hope things get back to normal in your blogging world:)

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  7. Greetings from my Greek Donkey!!! Looking forward for your recipes!!! i am always hungry for more!:)

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  8. My favorite kinds of meals are the sharing kinds. There is nothing better than eating, laughing and sharing stories together. Looks yummy!

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  9. What a lovely dish. Please say "Hello" to Bethany from me. Did you ever get to visit her in Japan?

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  10. thanks for your vote and your sukiyaki looks amazing! :) you're making me hungry and it's not lunchtime yet!

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  11. I love Japanese food -- I've always wanted a sukiyaki demonstration -- thanks! Theresa

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  12. What a great story, and a great looking meal. We just don't have enough of those meals with that kind of companionship any more, do we?

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  13. Yum!That looks delicious and nutrtious. That's amazing that your friends went to Japan with a child in tow. That's really inspiring to me (and stirring up a bit of wanderlust). Thanks for sharing!

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  14. I love sukiyaki! I've never tried making it at home - yours looks just perfect!

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  15. This is TOTALLY the food we are into right now. Love the recipes you are posting! Thanks

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  16. Beautiful and healthy dish! Looks like a load of fun to share with friends :o)

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  17. Perfect bowl of food, I love the presentation

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  18. How fun to share an evening with old friends over new food. I love Japanese food. It was easy to get ingredients when I lived in Seattle, but here in Arizona? Nothing.

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  19. I am definitely impressed- that looks amazing! If you're interested in entering a Halloween recipe contest, I'd love to see what you come up with! You can go here to learn more about it.

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  20. I have never tried this put it sure looks yummy!

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  21. Sommer, that is definitely my kind of eating! It looks light, and yet filling, simple and yet delicious!

    I've been in a bit of a blogging funk as well the past week. You're smart to have a store of posts built up. I really need to do more of that!

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  22. Hey Sommer, sorry you're tired. Me too! This looks wonderful anyway though. You might know that I have a love of Asian foods, so this sukiyaki looks just awesome (smile).
    p.s. Go Oprah! Me no likes 'gold diggers';-)

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  23. That's a lot of company! I would be tired too. I love this dish. Japanese cuisine is so yummy.

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  24. MMM that looks so good! Thanks for the recipe :)

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  25. I really enjoyed this post.Sukiyaki is filled with so many great ingredients! What a dinner! Those noodles look pretty cool. And I love how this recipe is straight from Japan! Can't get any more authentic than that.

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  26. I remember the first time I ate konnyaku LOL No flavor is right! But the texture is just mind boggling!! I almost choked eating it :D

    Your sukiyaki looks scrumptious Sommer - just the kind of grub that gets my gears going. Brothy, steaming hot, flavorful and so healthy! YUM!!

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  27. Wow...beautiful food, I love Japanese food. It looks so healthy. Have a great weekend.

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  28. Oh Wow. How amazing. I want to live in Japan one day. Their cuisine is just fascinating. I love everything about it. This dish looks so delicious and packed full of gorgeous ingrediants. I am going to try and make this. Thanks for the post and inspiration for something healthy and tasty!

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  29. This is stunning. The food, sharing of a culture and good friends. Awesome! This was a wonderful post.

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  30. I have some friends who lived in Japan also to teach English for several years. I so enjoyed hearing their stories of the interesting cultural differences and remember in particular their discussing the size of ovens and adapting recipes -- like Thanksgiving turkeys! Hilarious. Your sukiyaki sounds so yummy! I know we'd enjoy it.

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  31. how fun belly aching laughs, oh have fun, great dish healthy and colorful!!

    sweetlife

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  32. So fun to see Bethany!! This dish looks so healthy, delicious and simple - I will definitely be trying this! ( :

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  33. Oh, we would love this dish here. Great combination of ingredients. Great photos too.
    LL

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  34. Yum! Looks wonderful! And how fun to have your friends with you, sharing recipes from Japan. Enjoy!

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  35. How wonderful to share great food with great friends :) Beautiful dish...

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  36. That's gorgeous. You did such an amazing job. Thanks for sharing your work with us.

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  37. Oh lovely! I love sukiyaki! such a light and nutritious meal. I can understand the low motivation for blogging when you have guests, enjoy!

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  38. I love having friends visit! Hosting is one of my all time favorites. It sounds as though your friends would have some awesome stories to share! Teaching English abroad would be such a great job. This meal looks like a great way to welcome them back to the States :)

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  39. I know I already commented on this post but I just wanted to let you know that I gave you an award. Please stop by my blog when you get the chance to check it out :)

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  40. this looks like a wonderful bowl of comfort food and perfect for sharing with loved ones!!! i definitely would love to try this, thank you for sharing, it truly does look simply delicious - welcome back to bethany and jimmy, i bet they have culture shock lol - i have certainly been on my own adventure of simplifying in every way and trying to learn to make as much from scratch as i possibly can, even laundry soap! haha! thank you kindly for the lovely anniversary wishes, keep shining sweet bella

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  41. I love that it is a "social cooking meal." Once upon a time there was a song called Sukiyaki - I sang it phonetically as a child and was amazed to later find out Sukiyaki was food. I thought he was singing about a girl!

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  42. So delicious and healthy! A grest combination of textures and flavors.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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