Sukiyaki Recipe and Origins: Fun Facts and Tips

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Sukiyaki (すき焼き) is a very simple and popular dish in Japan. It is made from sliced meat, vegetables, mushrooms, udon and various other ingredients that the person wants. Sukiyaki is often made in a nabemono, an iron pot used to make stews and keep it warm in winter.

Sukiyaki is popular in winter, especially during the holiday season called Bonenkai. The recipe usually uses thinly sliced beef, but it is normal to use pork, especially in Hokkaido and Niigata. The most popular ingredients in a sukiyaki are tofu, negi (scallions), kale and shiitake mushrooms.

The way sukiyaki is served in a nabemono, is intended for fraternization, and also the freedom for the person to choose the amount and what to put in their bowl. Some restaurants even allow guests to cook their own dish.

Origin of Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki is believed to have emerged in the Meiji Era around 1868 with the liberation of foreigners in Japan. Sukiyaki emerged thanks to the popularization of beef and butter that happened at that time with the entry of American and European culinary trends.

Sukiyaki - origin, curiosities and recipe

The name sukiyaki (鋤焼き) comes from the word 鋤 (suki) which means shovel or plow, and from the word 焼き (yaki) which refers to the act of frying, grilling or cooking. But why? In the Edo Period (1603-1868) farmers used shovels to grill fish and tofu. Another theory is that the name sukiyaki comes from the word 剥き身 (sukimi) which means thin slices of meat.

sukiyaki recipe

Virtually any vegetable or leaf can be used in creating the recipe. So we recommend that you don't just stick to one recipe, and be free to modify and cook it however you want. Currently recipes are not limited to beef or pork, it is common to use even chicken or fish.

There are 2 ways to prepare a sukiyaki. Kansai style where they prefer to cook the meat first and gather all the ingredients later. And the Kanto style where they prefer to cook all the ingredients together.


Do it the way you see fit, if you don't have or don't want a certain ingredient in the recipe, feel free to modify it. The amount of each ingredient depends on the person's preference and how they want the dish to be.


For the sukiyaki (meat and vegetables) 

  • We recommend a tender meat such as sliced filet mignon;
  • 1 package shirataki/itokonnyaku or udon noodles;
  • Tofu cut into cubes;
  • Sliced green onion
  • Swiss chard leaves sliced into pieces
  • 1 grated ginger
  • 1/2 onion grated
  • Shiitake mushroom or champignon to taste
  • 5 spoons of soy sauce
  • Pepper cut into strips
  • Any other vegetables you like, cut into slices or cubes;

to make the sauce 

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 4 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 300 ml of water
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • A little sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Preparation mode 

Season the meat with the onion and grated ginger and Shoyu, let it taste for 1 hour. Now you decide if you want to cook it all together or cook the meat first and add the ingredients and sauces as you see fit or as you serve. It is a common custom to add raw egg over the recipe in each individual bowl.

Hope you like the recipe! To complement the article, we will leave a video explaining more details and teaching a sukiyaki recipe step by step.

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