Authentic Japanese Pork Sukiyaki, a low carb and unique dinner for cold nights!
Several years back some of our oldest dearest friends came to stay with us for several weeks. It was a time of belly laughs over old stories, lengthy conversations, places to visit, and kids streaking around in circles.
Our friends Bethany and Jimmy, had just moved home from Japan. They had lived there for two years with their little girl, teaching English in the small mountain town of Funehiki, 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 were truly thankful for their time overseas, yet found 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 a hot topic. 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 9 X 13 inch dishes. 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 enjoy cooking simple Japanese dishes.
Pork Sukiyaki is a recipe she shared with me…
Pork Sukiyaki (ski-ya-kee) is a traditional Japanese 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.
Pork Sukiyaki looks prettiest when it’s first put into the pan, but the muddled brothy aftermath is the true show stopper!
Instead of using 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 pork 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. It’s considered a health food, and is gluten free, low fat, and extremely low carb.
I believe it’s added simply for it’s funky texture. Bethany said it could be skipped or easily substituted for another veggie.
When making Pork Sukiyaki at home, you can cook it family style, with one-third of the ingredients at a time, or use an extra large skillet and cook it all at once. Either way, the taste and texture will make you feel like you’re in Japan!
- 1 - 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced pork loin
- 12 ounces mushrooms shiitake or cremini
- 6 - 8 ounces Enoki Mushrooms, trimmed
- 2 bunches green onions, greens removed and cut into 1" pieces
- 1/2 head napa cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cup baby carrots, cut into quarters by length
- 12 ounces firm tofu, cut into cubes
- 9 ounces Konnyaku noodles
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2/3 cup Shoyu (soy sauce)
- 6 tablespoons sake
- 2/3 cup 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!
Mix the Sukiyaki sauce in a small bowl and set aside. 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 pork, 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) or as is.