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|Place of origin||Japan|
|Main ingredients||Meat (usually thinly sliced beef), vegetables, soy sauce, sugar, and mirin|
|Cookbook: Sukiyaki Media: Sukiyaki|
It consists of meat (usually thinly sliced beef) which is slowly cooked or simmered at the table, alongside vegetables and other ingredients, in a shallow iron pot in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Before being eaten, the ingredients are usually dipped in a small bowl of raw, beaten eggs.
Popular ingredients cooked with the beef are:
- Tofu (usually seared firm tofu)
- Negi (a type of scallion)
- Leafy vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage and shungiku (Garland chrysanthemum leaves).
- Mushrooms such as shiitake and enokitake
- Jelly-noodles made out of konnyaku corm such as ito konnyaku or shirataki noodles.
Sukiyaki is a one pot dish (nabemono) that was developed during the Meiji era. Different regions have different ways of preparing sukiyaki. There are two main styles, the Kanto style from eastern Japan and Kansai style from western Japan. In the Kanto style, warishita (a mixture of sake, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and dashi) is poured and heated in a a pot, then meat, vegetables and other ingredients are added and simmered together. In Kansai-style sukiyaki, meat is heated in the pot first. When the meat is almost cooked, sugar, sake and soy sauce are added, then vegetables and other ingredients are added last. The vegetables and meat used are also different between the two styles. Because beef was expensive in the past, the use of pork was common in northern and eastern regions. Other ingredients added to modern sukiyaki include chicken (tori-suki), fish (uo-suki), udon noodles (udon-suki), negi, shiitake mushrooms, shirataki and slightly grilled tofu. In both the Kanto and Kansai styles, raw eggs are used as a dipping sauce when eating sukiyaki and steamed rice with black sesame seeds is also served.
There are two allusions about sukiyaki. The first one is about the name. It is said that the name of sukiyaki is from the word "suki", which means spade in Japanese, and "yaki" means grill in Japanese. During the Edo period (1603-1868), farmers were too busy to prepare dainty food. So they just used suki to cook things like fish and tofu to eat. Another theory of the name "sukiyaki" is from the word "sukimi", which means "thinly cut meat" in Japanese. However, sukiyaki became a traditional Japanese dish during the Meiji era (1868-1912). The second allusion is the history of sukiyaki. Buddhism was introduced to Japan around Edo period, killing or eating livestock is against Buddhist law at that time. Therefore eating beef was prohibited due to cattle were main labor animals. However, people could eat meat under some special circumstances such as when they were sick or having special events to celebrate like bōnenkai, a Japanese year-end drinking party. In the 1860s when Japan opened its port, foreigners who came to Japan introduced the culture of eating meat and new cooking styles. Cows, milk, meat, and eggs became widely used, and sukiyaki was the most popular way to serve them. At the beginning, cattle was imported from neighboring countries like Korea and China as the demand of beef went up. Later, until the Meiji Era, eating meat is no longer prohibited. And sukiyaki became popular in Kansai region. Because of 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, lots of beef restaurants in Tokyo were closed, and the people of Kantō temporarily moved to the Osaka area. While the people of Kantō were in Osaka, they got accustomed to the Kansai style of sukiyaki, and when they returned to Kantō, they introduced the Kansai sukiyaki style, where it has since become popular. Beef is the primary ingredient in today's sukiyaki.
- Shabu-shabu is similar, but whereas sukiyaki is considered more sweet, shabu-shabu is more savory.
- Sukiyaki in Laos takes the form of a bowl of bean thread noodles, various vegetables, thinly-sliced beef and other meats or seafood, sukiyaki sauce, and a raw egg in beef broth. The sukiyaki sauce is made from coconut, fermented tofu, tahini, peanut butter, sugar, garlic, lime and spices.
- Thai suki or Thai sukiyaki is a very popular hot pot dish in Thailand and, increasingly, neighboring countries. Despite the name, it bears only a vague resemblance to Japanese sukiyaki.
- Hot pot
- Fondue Bourguignonne & Fondue chinoise
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