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SUKIYAKI
Recipe By: Time-Life Series "The Cooking of Japan"
I'm quoting the book here: "One aspect of Japanese cuisine that remains a mystery to many foreign visitors is home cooking, mainly because the Japanese do far less home entertaining than Americans. One well-known Japanese dish common on restaurant menus, but actually is frequently prepared in homes across Japan is "Sukiyaki". It's far easier to prepare, even at the table, than one would imagine!"
Serves: 4

1 pound beef tenderloin or sirloin
1 can (8 oz.) shirataki (long noodlelike threads -- drained
1 can whole takenoko (bamboo shoots)
1 strip beef fat, 2" long -- folded square
6 scallions, including green tops -- cut in 1" pieces
1 medium yellow onion -- sliced 1/2" thick
5 small white mushrooms -- cut in 1/4" slices
2 cakes tofu, fresh canned or instant -- cut in 1" cubes
2 ounces chrysanthemum leaves, watercress or Chinese cabbage
SAUCE:
1/2 cup Japanese all-purpose soy sauce
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup sake (rice wine)

PREPARE AHEAD: 1. Place beef in freezer for about 30 minutes to make it easier to slice. With a heavy sharp knife, cut the beef against the grain into slices 1/8-inch thick, and cut slices in half crosswise.

2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and drop in the shirataki (noodlelike threads); return to a boil. Immediately drain and cut the noodles into thirds.

3. Scrape the bamboo shoot at the base, cut it in half lengthwise, and slice it thinly crosswise. Run cold water over the slices and drain. Arrange the meat, shirataki, and vegetables attractively in separate rows on a large platter.

TO COOK AND SERVE AT THE TABLE: If using an electric skillet, preheat to 425 degrees. If not, substitute a 10- to 12-inch skillet set over a table burner and preheat for several minutes.

Hold the folded strip of fat with chopsticks or tongs and rub it over the bottom of the hot skillet. Add 6-8 slices of meat to the skillet, pour in 1/4 cup of soy sauce, and sprinkle the meat with 3 tablespoons of sugar. Cook for aminute, stir, and turn the meat over. Push the meat to one side of the skillet; add about 1/3 of the scallions, onion, mushrooms, tofu, shirataki, greens and bamboo shoots in more or less equal amounts, sprinkle them with 1/4 cup sake and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.

With chopstickes or long-handled forks (such as fondue forks), transfer the contents of the pan to individual plates and serve. Continue cooking the remaining sukiyaki batch by batch as described above, checking the temperature of the pan from time to time. If it seems too hot and the food begins to stick or burn, lower the heat or cool the pan more quickly by adding a drop or two of cold water to the sauce.

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Copyright 2009 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved