Traditional sukiyaki is a hot pot-style dish of beef and vegetables simmered in a broth of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. It's a popular meal in Japan, but because of the lack of tabletop cooking vessels in the US, sukiyaki is challenging to replicate here. Hiroko Shimbo's version in Hiroko's American Kitchen drops the hot pot entirely to create a one dish meal more suitable to the American home cook. The array of vegetables are familiar—zucchini, squash, sweet potato, mushrooms, onion, and watercress—and the steak is easy to brown. Shimbo enhances the traditional simmer sauce with her BBC, or "best basting and cooking sauce," a riff on what most of us would recognize as teriyaki sauce.
Why I picked this recipe: The simple American tweaks to a classic Japanese preparation of sukiyaki are a perfect example of Shimbo's project as a whole.
What worked: Steak, vegetables, and soy-laced broth made for an easy, satisfying weeknight dinner.
What didn't: I thought the broth was too salty. Next time, I'll be sure to only lightly season the steak and perhaps swap in low-sodium soy sauce for the regular stuff.
Suggested tweaks: Round eye steaks tend to be tough. If you've got the budget, splurge on rib eye or strip steaks instead. As written, the recipe yields a generous amount of steak per person. You could easily cut the beef in half if you want to spring for a more expensive cut (or if you just wanna eat healthier, I guess).
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.