This goes out to all the Hotpot lovers out there who don't have a hotpot set-up at home and have been deprived of hotpots during this insane period we're living in right now. Enter faux-ki-yaki udon. All the delicious flavours of sukiyaki, none of the fuss, all in your own home.
You're basically cooking all your ingredients in a bath of highly seasoned dashi that's punchy with light soy, mirin and sugar. You do want a sturdy noodle that can stand up to all that seasoning and chewy udon noodles are perfect here as they lap up all that sauce, becoming even more delicious the longer they murk around in there.
Traditionally, yaki tofu (Grilled tofu) is used but I honestly can't be bothered to grill it at home. I do, however, urge you to tear your tofu into chunks (versus neatly slicing them) - the craggly edges with nooks and cranies you get are great for capturing the seasoned sauce. And finally, the beef. I use beef rib eye shabu slices because that's the most common thing in the supermarket (and in my freezer) and char them slightly first for an added layer of caramelization.
Serve with a (safe, good quality) raw egg or sous vide egg as your dipping sauce. The egg is crucial here and its purpose is twofold. As you dip your beef slices into the egg, the rich yolk envelopes your meat, forming a silky, orange-hued coating that gives you a velvety mouthfeel. The unseasoned egg also counters the highly seasoned sauce, its blandness heightening the tastes and textures of everything going on.
Prep your sauce:
You want 600ml of dashi ( I use a teabag + 600ml water) - however you want to make your dashi is fine. To that, add in 100ml of mirin, 100ml of sake, 4 Tablespoons of light brown sugar and 100ml of light soy sauce. Set that aside.
Prep your ingredients:
Wash and clean your cabbage. I used 1/2 a long cabbage for this amount.
Chunk up 1 leek.
If using enoki mushrooms, make sure to trim and discard their muddied ends.
Tear up 2 pakets of firm tofu with your hands.
Prep your beef:
250g of beef rib-eye shabu or slice up your own, or use thicker slices like they do in yakiniku. Whatever's most convenient for you.
In a dutch oven, heat up 2 Tablespoons of oil over high heat and when it's hot enough, add in your beef to sear. Set your beef slices aside after they're nicely browned.
You can wash your pot out at this point or clean it as best you can. I'm totally fine with some browned bits of beef floating around. If it bugs you, change your pot. hahaha
Add in the sauce you prepared earlier, your cabbage chunks, leeks, mushrooms of choice and your firm tofu. Let everything simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.
While that's going on, boil up 2 packet of udon noodles. Add them into your pot to join the rest of the ingredients when the cabbage is done.
To serve with, raw eggs or sous vide eggs as your (not optional) dipping sauce.
For garnish, spring onions and sesame seeds. (optional)