This is obviously a recipe that missed the boat last week for Far East Week. Featured once at Yakitori House, and featured in a similar form again at Katsura Grill at the Japan Pavilion in EPCOT, this hearty combination of soup and noodle dish is the perfect wintertime treat. In fact, this is customarily served as an end-of-year celebration dish.
The version served at Disney is from the Osaka region, though somewhat tempered to American audience it serves… In Osaka, just before the dish is served, a raw egg is cracked into the dish and tossed into the noodles before serving. In Tokyo, the raw egg is served on the side and each bite is dipped into the egg before eating. Yikes! Needless to say, I went with preparing this the EPCOT way, sans raw egg wash.
There are a few things I did differently for this recipe…
First off, it calls for kombu dashi, or a form of fish and seaweed stock. Being a fan of neither, I substituted this for chicken stock with an additional tablespoon or so of chicken base. It sounds strong, and it is… If you worry it’s too strong, simple water with the base mixed in is fine, though the flavors in this dish are supposed to be strong. Trust me, it’s not as overwhelming as it sounds.
Secondly, the meat is supposed to be much, much, much thinner… Almost paper thin. I got the thin-sliced stir-fry beef instead because it was cheaper and I was in a hurry and didn’t want to wait for the butcher to slice me the thin stuff I needed. It obviously doesn’t change the taste, but the texture does change pretty dramatically. Having had the authentic stuff at Katsura Grill in January, I have to say I wish I’d gone with the thin, thin cut. It makes for such a wonderful consistency.
This dish was a big, big hit. Something I plan on adding to my regular menu… It’s fast and tasty and just the right amount of sweet and savory. And hey! I remembered the green onions this time!
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As is served at Katsura Grill, formally Yakitori House, Japan Pavilion, EPCOT
- 1 pound beef, sliced very thin
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1/4 pound shredded carrot
- 2 packs udon, prepared according to package directions
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine)
- 1 cup dashi (fish stock, or chicken stock with added chicken base)
- 1 cup water
- 1 inch square konbu (sea weed)
- 1/2 cup bonito flakes
To make dashi, add konbu to water and allow to soak for at least 2 hours. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a low boil over highest heat, boil for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add bonito flakes and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Strain liquid into a bowl, removing all bonito and konbu, leaving just the liquid.
Combine all ingredients for sukiyaki sauce, set aside. Heat a large pot and add oil. Add beef slices and cook rapidly until almost done (the thinner the beef, the faster this process). Add onion and carrot and cook for about 1 minute, then pour in sauce. Lower heat and cover, allowing the vegetables to cook until desired doneness, about 7-10 minutes. Traditionally, the vegetables are left fairly crunchy. If cooked until soft, adding a little more water may be necessary.