Guide to Sukiyaki steak: recipe, cutting technique and flavors

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 2, 2021

3 easy recipes anyone can make...

All the tips you'll need to get started in Japanese cooking with our first email the FREE Japanese with ease quick-start recipe guide

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

If you love Asian cooking, Sukiyaki steak is a meal you’ll definitely want on your bucket list.

It’s so popular in Japan, there was even a hit song named after it!

In this post, I’ll let you in on the best steak sukiyaki recipe you’ll ever taste, along with some info on the dish.

Woman in a kimono making sukiyaki steak

What is sukiyaki beef steak?

Sukiyaki steak is a Japanese dish that is served nabemonon style (in a Japanese hot pot).

The dish consists of meat (usually thinly sliced beef) that is cooked or simmered at the table along with vegetables and other ingredients.

It is prepared in a shallow pot in a mixture of sugar, hot sauce, and mirin, an essential condiment in Japanese cuisine similar to sake but with higher sugar content.

After the ingredients are cooked, they are usually dipped in a small bowl of raw egg and eaten.

If this dish sounds interesting to you, read on to find out more about how to make it, the story behind it, how it tastes and more.

How to make sukiyaki steak

Sukiyaki steak hot pot recipe

Joost Nusselder
You can travel to Japan to get a true sukiyaki experience, but you can save a lot of money on traveling and eating out by making it in the comfort of your own. Here is a sukiyaki recipe we recommend.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4 people
Calories 468 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Ingredients for Sukiyaki Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp sake
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce

Ingredients for Sukiyaki:

  • ½ block firm tofu cut into ½” thick slices
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms rehydrated
  • 1 package enoki mushrooms with ends trimmed and rinsed
  • 2 cups napa cabbage cut into 2” pieces
  • 2 cups tong ho (chrysanthemum greens, washed)
  • 2 scallions with white and green parts separated
  • 1 bundle dried mung bean vermicelli noodles
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 oz. thinly sliced fatty beef
  • 2 cups dashi stock (or mushroom soaking liquid or chicken stock)
  • 2 cups steamed rice
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions
 

  • In a pot on your stove, add 2 tbsp. sake, ¼ cup mirin, 1 tbsp. brown sugar and ¼ cup soy sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Make sure all sugar is dissolved. Then turn off heat and transfer mixture to a bowl.
  • Prepare all sukiayaki ingredients including tofu slices, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, napa cabbage, tong ho and scallions. Set aside on a plate. Soak dried vermicelli noodles in water for 10 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a pan. Fry white parts of the scallion in the oil for 10 minutes. Chop green parts of scallions finely and set aside.
  • Add sliced beef to the pan with the scallions. Sear the beef for 10 seconds and add a drizzle of the sukiyaki sauce. Fry the meat until it begins to brown; it should still be a little bit pink. Remove from pot and set aside.
  • Add the rest of the sukiyaki sauce and 2 cups stock. Bring to a boil. Add tofu, mushrooms, napa cabbage and tong ho to pot in sections. Drain vermicelli noodles and add them to the pot. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the ingredients are cooked through 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, add the beef back to the pot. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and enjoy with rice and egg yolk (if desired).

Nutrition

Calories: 468kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 30gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 1373mgPotassium: 568mgFiber: 2gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 555IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 166mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Beef, Hot pot, Steak
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

You can also add some black sesame seeds to the broth.

If you can’t get dashi stock or don’t know how to make it, here’s a list of great dashi substitutes.

Shiitake mushrooms are a great one for example but there are many more options.

Aden Films has this nice short film about high-end sukiyaki dining:

Nutritional information

Sukiyaki is full of tons of healthy ingredients. The meat and egg are rich in protein, there are lots of nutritious vegetables and mushrooms that are full of antioxidants.

When considering the nutritional information, here’s the breakdown.

Serve sukiyaki alongside vegetables

Some great examples of vegetables you can use to make it even healthier:

Sukiyaki beef with broccoli

Broccoli and sukiyaki beef go wonderfully together because the broccoli florets cook through when cooked in a pot for 2 ½ to 3 minutes so you can cook those right in the hot broth.

History of sukiyaki

Let’s start by learning how the dish originated.

There are different theories concerning the origin of the name. However, if you split the name up, the word suki means ‘spade’ and yaki is a verb that means ‘to grill’.

Others say it comes from the word sukimi which means ‘thinly sliced meat’.

Sukiyaki became a traditional Japanese dish during the Meiji era (1868-1912). It is often eaten during year end parties called bonenkai.

When Buddhism was introduced to Japan, back in the Asuka period of 538-710, the eating of meat became frowned upon.

Buddhists worship animals and often enforce vegetarian ways.

Therefore, meat eating was reserved for times of sickness and celebration. Bonenkai is one of the rare times when the Japanese could eat meat.

In the 1860’s the Japanese opened its port to trade and eggs and meat became more widely used in cooking and new cooking styles were introduced.

x
Favorite Asian Recipes

In 1923, the Great Kanto earthquake caused many Tokyo beef restaurants to close and many people moved to Osaka.

While there, they became accustomed to preparing their meat sukiyaki style. When they moved back to Tokyo, they brought the dish with them.

The dish has been popular ever since and it’s often eaten to celebrate bonenkai.

Check out this post on teriyaki vs sukiyaki

Two main styles: Kanto and Kansai Style Preparations

鋤焼 = Sukiyaki or more commonly すき焼き is prepared in different ways. One type of preparation originates in the Kanto region and the other one comes from the Kansai region.

The Kanto style is based on gyunabe (beef pot) which became very popular during the Meiji period.

The dish requires a soup base called warishita which is prepared with shoyu, mirin and sake.

The meat, vegetables and other ingredient are simmered together in the premixed base.

The Kansai sukiyaki style does not use warishita. Instead, the meat is cooked first, like hibachi sukiyaki steak, and then seasoned with sugar and soy sauce.

Vegetables are added to the pot and the liquid is boiled down. Then sake and water are added.

Both Kansai and Kanto preparations use eggs as their dipping sauce but the custom originated in Kasai.

Also read: check the most delicious sukiyaki recipe right here

FAQ about beef sukiyaki

How Do You sukiyaki Meat Thinly Sliced?

One secret to getting the sukiyaki perfect is to start out with very thinly sliced meat.

In order to do that, put the meat in the freezer until it starts getting hard, but don’t let it get anywhere near frozen.

Start with the parts of the meat that are partially defrosted as this will be much easier to slice neatly and thinly.

Do your best to slice evenly as well as this will make for a nicer presentation.

What Does Beef Sukiyaki Taste Like?

Sukiyaki can be described as having a sweet and salty flavor. This is due to flavorings like shoyu, sugar and mirin.

Other ingredients that contribute to its flavor profile include nagenegi (Japanese leek), shungiku green, shiitake, tofu and shirataki noodles.

What Cut of Meat Should You Use for Sukiyaki Steak?

The best cut of meat to use for sukiyaki steak is top sirloin. Tenderloin or other sirloin cuts will work as well.

These cuts will be tender and tasty and they won’t have a lot of fat which can take away from the appearance of the dish.

Round beef is another possibility but it tends not to be as flavorful.

Is beef sukiyaki healthy?

If you’re on a diet, I wouldn’t recommend Sukiyaki as it can be very high in calories and fat content. But if you know what to order and add more vegetables than beef, sukiyaki can actually be one of the most healthy dishes there is!

Sukiyaki steak vs teppanyaki hibachi steak

Hibachi steak is usually thinly sliced beef which is slowly cooked or simmered at the table whereas Sukiyaki steak is grilled in advance and then you dip it into boiling broth at the table.

Similar Dishes to Sukiyaki

There are few dishes that compare to sukiyaki steak, but if you can’t get the real thing, here are some similar recipes you can try:

Conclusion

Sukiyaki is a unique dish that everyone should try at least once in their lives…but it’s so delicious we are sure that most will want to try it again.

Hopefully, this article has inspired you to seek out the taste, whether you travel to Japan or make it in your own kitchen.

Bon appetit!

Also read: shabu-shabu vs sukiyaki, are they (almost) the same?!?

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.