A delicious mixture of beef, noodles, Chinese cabbage, spinach, and tofu, sukiyaki is easy to make. Japan has excellent well-marbled beef that's used for this specialty, so you'll need a good cut to get a similar flavor. We find that club steak works well. Have your butcher cut it as thin as possible. We use angel hair in place of traditional Asian transparent noodles, but you could certainly include them if they're available to you.
- 1/2 pound angel hair
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 pounds club steak, trimmed of fat, sliced very thin
- 10 scallions including green tops, cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
- 3/4 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup sake or dry white wine
- 1/2 pound soft tofu, drained and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 pound napa cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 pound mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 pound spinach, large stems removed and leaves washed
- 1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until just done, about 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.
- 2. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over moderately high heat. Add the oil and sprinkle the sugar into the pan. Let sit until the sugar begins to turn golden brown, about 1 minute. Stir until the sugar turns a medium brown. Add the steak, in about five batches, turning quickly with tongs, until browned and just done, 1 or 2 minutes in all. Remove. The sugar should glaze the beef with brown caramel. If the pan gets too hot, reduce the heat to moderate so the sugar won't burn. Add the scallions; cook, stirring, until browned, about 2 minutes.
- 3. In the pasta-cooking pot, combine the pasta, the beef and any accumulated juices, the scallions, broth, soy sauce, sake, tofu, cabbage, and mushrooms and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring, until the vegetables are almost tender, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and continue cooking until wilted, about 30 seconds longer.
- Wine Recommendation: A good lager will probably be the best choice, but if you want to be adventurous, try a pinot noir from California. More overtly fruity than its Burgundian counterparts, it will marry effectively with the soup.
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