Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wine and Dine

This week's challenge for Weekend Cook and Tell on Serious Eats is to build a meal around a budget bottle (under $12) of wine.

Sake cup

Since I can't drink, I asked Bug what he wanted to do. He blurted, "sake with sukiyaki." I initially balked at the idea as I was in the mood for something cool. A peek in the refrigerator revealed that we only had a gulp of sake left.

On Saturday, we drove over to World Market, arriving 15 minutes 'til closing, and shuffled around the store to pick up several gifts. Bug grabbed the Sho Chiku Bai at $9.99. Amongst their selection of sake, he did not care for the plum wine, nor the frou frou sake in pretty bottles, and the bottle of Gekkeikan cost more than $12.

Classic junmai sake

On to the sukiyaki...

I've made sukiyaki and posted the recipe before. This time, I decided to add measurements to the ingredient list, since I typically wing the dish, as well as incorporating what I wrote in the previously posted recipe (read: being lazy).

Beef for Sukiyaki
Raw slices of beef

1/2 c shoyu
1/4 c sake
1 c water
1 T brown sugar
1 T vegetable oil or tallow
1 lb beef eye of round, wafer thin slices
4-5 c napa cabbage, chopped, separate bone with leafy parts
4 dried shiitake, rehydrated with the stem trimmed
14 oz shirataki, rinsed and drained
8 oz tofu, cut in cubes
11 oz young bamboo shoots, rinsed (canned, sliced bamboo shoots are fine)
7 oz enoki, trimmed and rinsed
1 leek leaf

Since I do not have a tabletop stove, I cook the entire batch at once. If you can cook at the table, cook each ingredient in equal parts in small portions and refill ingredients as needed.

1. Mix the shoyu, water, and sake (1 : 2 : 1/2 ratio, respectively) with the brown sugar in bowl. Adjust to taste. It shouldn’t be extremely salty or very sweet. The amount depends on the size of your deep pan that you’ll be cooking and serving this dish in. I usually make enough that it stands under an inch when poured in the pan. Set aside.

2. Add oil to a large heated pan. If the beef came with tallow, use that instead.
3. Separate beef and cook. Drain grease once meat is cooked, leaving the meat in the pan.
4. Add sauce to meat.
5. Add shiitake.
6. Add the bony napa cabbage. Cook for a few minutes, making sure that the cabbage remains separate from the meat. Move the meat so all pieces have simmered in the sauce.
7. Add shirataki. Cook for a couple of minutes and mix it in the sauce so the noodles are coated with the base. Move the noodles alongside the cabbage. Each ingredient should still be in discrete sections and not stirred together.

Hijiki speckled shirataki

The shirataki that I prefer has seaweed combined, as shown. It is purely for aesthetic reasons. I haven't given it a second thought whether this variety over the white is healthier.

I contemplated making twisted blocks with konnyaku instead - maybe next time.

8. Add tofu cubes and turn occasionally so they are evenly coated with the stock. Meanwhile, continue rotating the meat, cabbage, and shirataki in its place.
9. Add bamboo shoots.

Bamboo shoots

10. Add enoki and move the shiitake to the center. This is purely aesthetic for me, it won't affect the flavor of the dish. :)
11. Add leafy napa cabbage and simmer until wilted.
12. Add the leek and continue simmering for a few minutes.

Sukiyaki without leek

This is ready to serve with a bowl of rice and raw egg.

The raw egg is cracked and beaten in a separate small bowl for personal consumption. Dip a small portion of the steaming medley into the cold egg and eat with rice.

You'll notice that there is a cluster of more than 4 shiitake in the picture. I was fussing with the bag of mushrooms that was jammed in a freezer bag. Alas, after fiddling with the bag for several minutes, I gave it a hard yank. The bag finally came free along with the mushrooms. The entire bag of shiitake sprayed into the sink, onto the counter and floor, so I ended up using 8-9 and throwing out 10.

Room temperature sake

With sukiyaki, the sake should have been warmed to 100°F, but Bug opted to drink it at around room temperature. He enjoyed the sake and gorged on the sukiyaki.

Another thing to note about this meal is the cost. Including the bottle of sake, the total spent was $20.60 for 6 servings. The bottle of sake will last about a year for us. Maybe longer.

- Cassaendra

2 deep thoughts:

Michael 29 June, 2009 12:27  


SicklyBug and Cassaendra 29 June, 2009 22:18  

Hi Michael~

This batch was delicious. We usually prepare this with 2xmeat, but we're trying to be a tad more health conscious, down to eating this with *gasp* brown rice!

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