Sukiyaki, Game 4

Posted by on June 11, 2010 in Blog, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Lakers | 22 comments

 

Oh well, the Lakers lost 96 – 89 and the series against the Celtics is now tied 2-2.  :(

For Game 4 of the Lakers vs. Celtics NBA Finals, I decided to do a little Googling regarding the rivalry between these two teams since I wasn’t familiar with the historical details.  Apparently, this rivalry goes back many years, ever since the NBA was founded in 1946.  (That’s a long time!)  Since then, the Lakers and Celtics have met at the Finals 11 times over NBA history with 2010 as their 12th meeting.  No wonder Lakers fans hate the Celtics! As a native Los Angeleno I’m naturally inclined to hate them – it’s in my blood, but now that I know the historical details, I REALLY hate them!

Between 1947 and 1956, the Lakers (then a Minneapolis team) won 5 of 6 NBA Finals.  Between 1958 and 1966, the Celtics won 8 NBA Finals in a row.  Crazy!  Since those early years, the Celtics continued to dominate, winning a total of 17 NBA Finals to date.  The Celtics have the best record and is the winningest team in NBA history.  The Lakers are not far behind the Celtics, having won 15 NBA Finals and they are the second most winningest team in NBA history.  Combined, the Lakers and Celtics hold 32 NBA titles out of 63 Finals.  Crazy!! The next best team, the Chicago Bulls has won only 6 NBA Finals.  Now I completely understand what the Lakers – Celtics rivalry is all about. They are the two greatest teams in NBA history.

Unfortunately, of the 11 times the Celtics and Lakers have met at the NBA Finals, the Lakers have won only twice against the Celtics.  Both of these games were won during the Lakers’ Magic Johnson era in 1985 and 1987.  That was the last time the two teams met until 2008 when the Celtics beat the Lakers 4 – 2.  From a historical perspective, the Lakers are the underdogs, but this year, the Lakers are looking pretty good… despite their Game 4 loss.  I am still hopeful.

Let’s move on to our game night dinner.

I had a craving for sukiyaki since it’s been a very long time since I’ve made this.  It’s total comfort food for me. This was a regular dish that my parents made for my brother and I when we were growing up.  My mom prepared all of the ingredients, including the simmering sauce, and my dad was responsible for cooking it.  They always started the cooking process on the stove, and then moved the iron sukiyaki pan to a portable tabletop stove so that we could all eat out of the pan together, family style.

We had a little scare earlier in the week because my dad made a trip to the ER, but it turns out he’s OK and he’s mostly back to feeling like himself.  Perhaps because of this little scare I was craving sukiyaki for comfort. There are so many dishes that I grew-up with that are tied to good memories and sukiyaki is definitely one of them. Both eating it, and reminiscing (blogging) about it, gives me warm fuzzies.  :)

Sukiyaki is a traditional Japanese hot-pot style dish which is commonly eaten during the fall and winter seasons. However, I remember eating this year-round (thanks to our mild Southern California weather), perhaps with the exception of those really hot summer days in August and September when all we ate was somen.  Sukiyaki traditionally consists of thin beef and vegetables, but each family typically has their own unique sukiyaki flavor and ingredients.  Sukiyaki is dipped in an individual serving of raw egg, then consumed, and we grew-up eating our sukiyaki in this traditional way; however, with the recent threat of salmonella poisoning, I rarely do this anymore unless I’m positive that the egg is from a high-quality source but even then, I have my reservations.

My three favorite ingredients in our family’s sukiyaki are itokonnyaku (yam noodles), shiitake mushrooms, and shungiku.  As a child, I always thought shungiku was a strange vegetable and I never really knew what it was, but I still ate it because I loved the herbal, tangy taste of it.  I remember asking my mom numerous times while I was growing-up, where she got the shungiku because it looked A LOT like the yellow daisy weeds that I’d seen growing in our backyard. As much as I didn’t want to be eating those weeds, and my mom assured me that she bought them at the supermarket and they were OK to eat, I wondered if the folks at the supermarket went out and picked those daisy weeds to sell at their store.

So I Googled shungiku, and it turns out that these are edible Garland Chrysanthemum leaves, also known as “crown daisy”.  No wonder my child-like mind kept affiliating shungiku with flowers.  As an ikebana instructor (flower arrangement), my mom always had beautiful arrangements of flowers all over our home, including Chrysanthemums, and I knew those shungiku leaves looked familiar!  I’m not certain that the flowering Chrysanthemum and edible Garland Chrysanthemums are the same, but they look identical.  I’m just happy that this childhood mystery has finally been debunked.

Our Family’s Sukiyaki

(serves 4)

  • 1 pound thinly sliced shabu-shabu beef
  • 1 chicken breast (or 2 chicken thighs), cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/3 nappa cabbage, cut into large pieces
  • 1 package itokonnyaku (yam noodles)
  • Tofu, cubed (I always buy soft, but medium-firm tofu doesn’t break as easily)
  • Shungiku (crown daisy)
  • 8 – 10 Shiitake mushrooms, cut in half
  • 8 – 10 Button mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 2 negi (green onions), sliced diagonally in large pieces
  • 1/2 bag of moyashi (bean sprouts)
  • 1 package frozen udon noodles, boiled and rinsed
  • Canola oil to coat pan
  • Raw egg for dipping sukiyaki (optional)

for simmering sauce:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons sake
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons sugar (according to your preference)

1)  Combine simmering sauce ingredients.  I combine all the ingredients in a large measuring cup for ease of use and clean-up.  Stir the ingredients well so that the sugar slightly dissolves.

2)  Boil 1 package of udon noodles for 3 minutes. (I buy frozen udon noodles that come in packs of 5.  I found that the frozen udon noodles have better texture than the refrigerated udon.)  Rinse the noodles in cold water and set aside.  The noodles do not need to be cooked all the way as they’ll be cooked with the sukiyaki simmering sauce.

3)  In a large pot or iron pan add a small amount of oil and use a brush to coat the entire surface.  On medium-high heat (on the stove), slightly brown the beef and chicken, then remove from the pan.  We use shabu-shabu beef because it is so much more thin and tender than sukiyaki beef, but feel free to experiment.  Next, sauté the brown onions and white parts of the negi, then the mushrooms.  My parents make little sections for each individual ingredient, and I do the same.  Move all the onions and mushrooms to the side of the pan to make room for the rest of the ingredients.

4)  Add some of the chicken and beef back into the iron pan, add itokonnyaku, tofu, udon noodles, and nappa cabbage.  I didn’t feel like eating moyashi, so I omitted this from our sukiyaki but we usually do include this.

You’ll notice in the photo below that I also added the shungiku, but it’s best to add this after the rest of the ingredients have simmered in the pan for a while.  If the shungiku cooks too long, they will wilt into nothingness and taste bitter.

Pour some of the simmering sauce into the sukiyaki pan and allow the sukiyaki to simmer for about 10 – 12 minutes until the flavor of the simmering sauce is absorbed into the ingredients.  Since our sukiyaki pan is smaller than those found in Japan, I usually add more ingredients as we eat, and cook them on the tabletop stove.  When I add more ingredients, I will add more of the simmering sauce if some of it has evaporated.

 

5)  When the ingredients are cooked and ready to eat, transfer the iron sukiyaki pan to a portable tabletop stove and dig in, family style!  Bebe Dada commented that the sukiyaki was “delicious”, and Big Onechan loved the simmering sauce so much that she poured it over her rice!  :)  Yikes… Due to my mother’s traditional Japanese influence, anything poured over rice (shoyu (soy sauce), mayonnaise, ketchup – I’ve seen it all), with the exception of tea for ochazuke, makes me cringe just a tiny bit.  But, to each his own, so long as it’s enjoyable.  :)

 

For a traditional Japanese experience, dip your sukiyaki in some raw egg, at your own risk of course.  ;)  It sounds odd, but it’s delicious!  Serve sukiyaki with brown rice and enjoy!

Let’s hope the Lakers get it together on Sunday.

LET’S GO LAKERS, LET’S GO!

Judy | bebe mama

 

Our Family's Sukiyaki
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound thinly sliced shabu-shabu beef
  • 1 chicken breast (or 2 chicken thighs), cut into bite sized pieces
  • ⅓ nappa cabbage, cut into large pieces
  • 1 package itokonnyaku (yam noodles)
  • Tofu, cubed (I always buy soft, but medium-firm tofu doesn't break as easily)
  • Shungiku (crown daisy)
  • 8 - 10 Shiitake mushrooms, cut in half
  • 8 - 10 Button mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 2 negi (green onions), sliced diagonally in large pieces
  • ½ bag of moyashi (bean sprouts)
  • 1 package frozen udon noodles, boiled and rinsed
  • Canola oil to coat pan
  • Raw egg for dipping sukiyaki (optional)
  • FOR SUKIYAKI SIMMERING SAUCE:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons sake
  • 6 - 8 tablespoons sugar, to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine simmering sauce ingredients.  I combine all the ingredients in a large measuring cup for ease of use and clean-up.  Stir the ingredients well so that the sugar slightly dissolves.
  2. Boil 1 package of udon noodles for 3 minutes. (I buy frozen udon noodles that come in packs of 5.  I found that the frozen udon noodles have better texture than the refrigerated udon.)  Rinse the noodles in cold water and set aside.  The noodles do not need to be cooked all the way as they'll be cooked with the sukiyaki simmering sauce.
  3. In a large pot or iron pan add a small amount of oil and use a brush to coat the entire surface.  On medium-high heat (on the stove), slightly brown the beef and chicken, then remove from the pan.  We use shabu-shabu beef because it is so much more thin and tender than sukiyaki beef, but feel free to experiment.  Next, sauté the brown onions and white parts of the
  4. negi, then the mushrooms.  Move all the onions and mushrooms to the side of the pan to make room for the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Add some of the chicken and beef back into the iron pan, add itokonnyaku , tofu, udon noodles, and nappa cabbage.  Add shungiku.
  6. Pour some of the simmering sauce into the sukiyaki pan and allow the sukiyaki to simmer for about 10 - 12 minutes until the flavor of the simmering sauce is absorbed into the ingredients.  Since our sukiyaki pan is smaller than those found in Japan, I usually add more ingredients as we eat, and cook them on the tabletop stove.  When I add more ingredients, I will add more of the simmering sauce if some of it has evaporated.
  7. When the ingredients are cooked and ready to eat, transfer the iron sukiyaki pan to a portable tabletop stove and dig in, family style!
  8. For a traditional Japanese experience, dip your sukiyaki in high quality, fresh raw egg.

22 Comments

  1. avatar

    Hi, This is one of my favorite Japanese dishes as well as the Shabu Shabu. Thank you for sharing your childhood experience.
    You made me laugh, the way you said “I hate Celtics” And you really emphasized that here in your post. I wish the Lakers the best of luck.

    • avatar

      Hi there, we love shabu-shabu too but it’s been warm here and I can’t get myself to make that but I can’t wait until fall. :) I just realized I am wearing green today – the hated color of the Celtics. I must go and change… Heh.

  2. avatar

    MAN!!! Your suikyaki pic looks oh so yummy, Judy!! Professional!! :) LOL

    Yes, sukiyaki is one of my faves, too. I haven’t had it in awhile. My mom makes mizutaki a lot. Had it quite a few times since I’ve moved here to Hawaii. Haven’t had sukiyaki in ages!! I remember going to Suehiro in Little Tokyo and ordered sukiyaki there. LOL

    Too bad for the Lakers! At least it’s tied.

    Let’s GO LAKERS, LET’S GO!!
    LET’S GO LAKERS, LET’S GO!!

    ALOHA!!

    • avatar

      Aloha! Thanks. I didn’t realize we hadn’t eaten this in so long too. It’s B’s favorite and since bebe like it too he said he’s hoping I’ll make it more often now. Oh.. Suehiro’s the udon restaurant on the 2nd floor, right? I think I used to order their niku udon all the time.

  3. avatar

    Even though I am from boston (live in NJ now though) which I guess makes me a Celtic’s fan by default this looks delicious!

    I have a really great asian market near me – I should take a trip over and get some of the shabu shabu so I can make this before it gets too hot

  4. avatar

    You’re really into this season Judy! :)
    I love Japanese sukiyaki. It’s so healthy and as you said it’s so comforting! Good luck on Sunday and Tuesday! :D

    • avatar

      I know… my friends and I all have Lakers’ fever/disease. That’s just how it is having grown-up in LA. It’s seriously an illness. :P

  5. avatar

    Judy,
    That looks like a big pot of goodness and comfort. I like sukiyaki but I’ve never made it myself. If I were your neighbor I would have invited myself over to have some of this! :-)

    So glad that your dad’s okay.

  6. avatar

    Glad your dad is OK and hope he is feeling better! I haven’t had sukiyaki in years and years. Looks so delicious! My comfort food of choice is Okayu. But I only eat it when I’m sick….

    • avatar

      Thanks Melissa. My mom used to make okayu for us when we had an upset stomach or when we were sick too.

  7. avatar

    Oh-I’m totally coming here for recipes! You are a fun read and I’m learning all kinds of useless facts. :) (I have to hate the Lakers because I’m married to a die-hard Warriors fan). Gosh, reading your blog makes me wish I was Blaine.

    • avatar

      Yes, I am queen of sharing totally useless facts – and I love it! :P It’s my bad Google-habit.

      Oh no… I feel so bad for you and your husband because you are Warriors’ fans. I don’t believe they have ever made it to an NBA Finals game, have they? Poor things… :P

  8. avatar

    Oh I really like your version of sukiyaki! My mother also is an ikebana instructor. I not tried working with shungiku at home before – I will look for it. I love using florals ingredients in my food.

    • avatar

      Wow! I don’t believe I’ve “met” anyone else whose mother is an ikebana instructor! How cool! :) I’ll look forward to a shungiku post from you! I’ve never really eaten it in anything other than sukiyaki, nabe, or sometimes soup and chawan mushi.

  9. avatar

    Yikes, sorry about the typos – I hit the submit button a bit too soon ;)

  10. avatar

    SO funny that you post this. A couple girlfriends and I were just talking about sukiyaki the other day. We have a standing monthly dinner date and want to get sukiyaki on our next one. Do you know of a good place in LA to get some?

    By the way, every time I hear sukiyaki, I think “It’s all because of youuuuuuuu, I’m feeling sad and blueeeeeeeee…” I know you know what I’m talking about!! :)

  11. avatar

    This dish looks delicious! Not too bad for a Laker’s fan ;) Would love to have that now since it’s cool here in Boston. I first had sukiyaki in Japan about 7 years ago while visiting one of my best friends from college. Her mom made it with clear noodles and tasted even better the next morning. This has become one of my favorite dishes.

    • avatar

      Thank you – LOL. ;) Kudos on your team’s win tonight. I really miss the food in Japan. I keep telling my mom that I need to go back for a visit soon, just so that I can indulge on all the delicious food.

  12. avatar

    Dear Judy!
    Greetings!
    Well done again!
    Mind you, I have the impression it comes easy to you!
    Will wait until the colder days though!LOL
    Best rgards,
    Robert-Gilles

    • avatar

      Thank you! I imagine now that it’s June you are in tsuyu season in Japan. I remember how uncomfortably warm and humid it gets during this season. Definitely not a good time for sukiyaki! :)

  13. avatar

    LOL
    It just started and I can tell you that playing cricket is a good way to lose weight (before all the Japanese sake and beer!)!

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