Sukiyaki is a classic cold weather dish in Japan. It’s just the thing to get you through the last frigid days. My Sukiyaki Noodles take inspiration from that famous soy flavored hot pot. They are chockful of veggies, proteins, and noodles simmered in a luscious savory sauce. For my Sukiyaki Noodles, I use “miracle noodles”, or shirataki. These noodles, which are made from konjac yam, have zero calories AND are practically carb free, while still being totally yummy with a fun, bouncy texture. As an added bonus, they are gluten free, so this dish is great for anyone with gluten sensitivities.
One thing I love about Sukiyaki Noodles is their very Asian approach to meat. Meat is used as a flavoring ingredient, rather than the center of the meal. The one pound of beef used in this recipe serves up to 6 people, which is way more in line with recommended serving sizes of red meat, than the standard American way of serving an enormous steak per person. It is also an economical way to serve beef without it looking like you’re on a budget. Veggies also have a central role here: with burdock root, watercress, and two kinds of mushrooms providing great texture and earthy flavor. One bite and I know you will come to love this comforting one dish meal.
Sukiyaki Noodles follow a hybrid Japanese cooking technique of stir fry-braise, where items are first quickly stir-fried with a little oil to sear and concentrate flavors and then braised for a short time to allow flavors to meld. I like to have everything prepped and ready to go, so that I don’t forget to add any ingredients and I can just concentrate on the cooking.
Prep Your Ingredients
The first thing you need to do is rinse the noodles. If you haven’t tried Shirataki noodles before, you may be surprised by the slightly fishy odor. Don’t be alarmed. It’s normal and does lessen when you rinse it. And when it’s cooked, you won’t notice it at all, trust me.
Then move on to the rest of the prep: clean the mushrooms, slice the burdock, and prep the beef…once you have everything prepped the dish comes together quickly. Mushrooms are an excellent addition to these noodles. Feel free to experiment with different kinds. Here we are using shimeji and enoki. Both come in small packages with growing medium at the base, which needs to be cut off. Then break them into small manageable clumps before adding them to the pan.
Burdock root is an earthy root vegetable that is common in traditional Japanese cusine. Look for firm fresh roots that are not shriveled or too dark. It needs to be scrubbed free of soil with a clean vegetable brush or sponge and well rinsed. Make sure to have a bowl of water to keep the cut burdock. Burdock oxidizes quickly in air. Burdock root is usually sold with several in the pack. If you have some left over, try this quick stir-fry called Kinpira Gobo.
Japan has excellent beef that is well marbled with fat for exceptional flavor. Ribeye is a great stand in. I usually buy it pre-shaved (in fact I can find it at both Trader Joes and Costo), but if you are slicing the ribeye yourself then freeze it first for about a half hour-this makes it much easier to get really thin slices. (It is also helpful to have a properly sharpened knife. Subscribe and get a free how-to on professionally sharpening knives!)
Let’s Get Cooking!
Once all your ingredients are prepped, making sukiyaki noodles is a snap! Start by heating the oil in a large pan with a lid. Then ingredients get added one at a time. By adding each ingredient separately, nothing gets overcooked and you ensure a vibrant beautiful dish.
Serving Sukiyaki Noodles
Now it’s time to and serve! You can either serve it family style directly from the pan and let everyone dig in, or you can serve it in individual bowls with a nice sprinkle of the scallion garnish. Make sure everyone gets some of the delicious sauce.
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- 1 pound shaved (or very thinly sliced) rib eye steak
- 2 packages of shirataki noodles (16 oz. each)
- 3 tablespoon neutral oil
- A large onion, peeled, halved and cut into 1/4” slices
- 1 burdock root (approximately 8 ounces)
- 1 ½ cup mirin
- ¾ cup soy sauce*
- 1 package hon-shimeji mushrooms (you can also use shiitake or oyster mushrooms)
- medium bunch watercress
- 1 package enoki mushrooms
- 4 scallions, cut on the bias
- If your beef is not already sliced, you will need to prepare it first. Freeze the rib eye steak for 20-30 mins. until slightly firm but not frozen solid. (This will make the steak easier to cut).
- Cut off any thick pieces of fat, but leave a little fat or you will lose a lot of the flavor. Cut it in half lengthwise and then across the grain as thinly as possible. Set aside.
- Drain the shirataki noodles in a colander and rinse with running water. Set aside.
- Scrub the burdock root with a clean kitchen sponge and rinse off under running water. Trim the dried ends off and discard. Fill a bowl with water. Cut the burdock root on the diagonal in thin ¼ “ pieces. Put the burdock into the bowl of water to stop the oxidation, which will turn it brown.
- Take the fish cake out of the package and pull it off of the wooden board. Cut the fish cake into ¼” slices. Set aside.
- Open the package of enoki and cut off the bottom 1/2 inch growing medium. Break apart the enoki mushrooms into small manageable clumps and set aside.
- Open the package of shimeji mushrooms and break apart into small clumps and cut off the growing medium at the bottom. Set aside.
- Wash the watercress well, drain, and roughly chop into 2 “ pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a large saute pan (I used a 12” deep cast iron enameled skillet with a dome lid) over medium high heat, add the oil and swirl it around to coat the pan. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes.
- Add the burdock root and continue stir frying for another 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add the soy sauce and mirin. Stir to mix. Pour the sauce over the burdock and onions.
- Put the shirataki noodles on top of the onion mixture and push down a little on the noodles to submerge them in the sauce.
- Cover with a lid, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes. Open the lid once in a while and stir/flip the noodles to fully coat the noodles in the sauce as it cooks.
- Remove the lid and add the shimeji mushrooms and the fish cake. Cover again and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the beef and using chopsticks or tongs, separate and peel apart the beef, so it does not cook in one big clump. Cook with the lid off for about 1 minute until the beef is medium rare.
- Add the watercress and enoki and again cover the pan for 1 minute.
- Top with the scallions and serve.
- You can either serve this in the pan, like a hot pot, and have everyone dig into it or you can portion the noodles into 4-6 bowls, topping each evenly with the meat and the veggies. Divide up any sauce. Serve immediately.
*To keep this dish gluten-free, be sure to choose a soy sauce without any wheat.
* If you’re using meat that you have cut by hand, it will naturally be thicker than machine cut shaved beef. In that case, cook the beef for a minute or two longer to desired doneness.
Keywords: sukiyaki, noodles, gluten free