Cook the Book: Quick Sukiyaki

Cook the Book: Quick Sukiyaki

[Photographs: Makiko Doi]

Makiko Itoh, author of The Just Bento Cookbook, assembled a list of 10 bento rules that keep her bentos healthy, fun to eat, and easy. One of these rules is that a bento should not take more than 30 minutes to assemble, preferably under 20.

Being able to put together a balanced lunch in 20 minutes? Well, I suppose it's possible.

Once the ingredients for this Quick Sukiyaki are assembled it comes together in a snap—just under 5 minutes. Super-thin slices of beef are stir-fried with mushrooms, scallions, and finished with a deep brown, soy-rich sauce. It's the kind of dish that's just asking for plenty of rice to soak up all that great beefy, soy sauce. Just add a few vegetables (steamed, marinated, or raw) and a scoop or two of steamed rice (OK, so the rice cooker might take a little longer than half and hour) and you've got a wonderful bento lunch in under 30 minutes.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Just Bento Cookbook to give away this week.

Adapted from The Just Bento Cookbook by Makiko Itoh. Copyright © 2011. Published by Kondosha International. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:1


  • 1/2 ounce enoki mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 4 inch piece of the white part of a leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh shiitake mushroom, sliced, stem discarded
  • 3 ounces sukiyaki-ready beef
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup dashi
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • Shichimi pepper, to taste


  1. 1.

    Cut off the stuck-together roots of the enoki mushrooms and shred the mushrooms apart.

  2. 2.

    Heat the oil in a small frying pan over high heat. Put in the leek and sauté until limp. Add the enoki and shiitake and sauté for a further 3–4 minutes.

  3. 3.

    Add the beef and sugar and stir rapidly until the beef has started to brown. Add all the other ingredients. Cook rapidly over high heat for 3–4 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the contents of the pan to a bowl. When cool, put the mixture on top of the rice with some of the cooking liquid. Sprinkle with shichimi pepper.