My Lunch Can Beat Up Your Lunch!

Lunch Box 320: Pseuki Yaki Attempt #1


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All the color is on one side When I was little, my father used to make "suki yaki." It was something he rarely made - maybe once a year, if I recall correctly - and when he did it was an elaborate, all-day production involving a trip to an Asian market and hours of boiling bones and cutting up all sorts of weird stuff. At the end there'd be a huge pot of the most wonderful stuff ever to be served with rice. Well, for the past ten years I've been asking him for this recipe. Just recently, after three years of me nagging him every time we met, he sent me the actual recipe card, aged and stained from decades of service... and it turns out to be only a list of the ingredients, with no amounts or cooking directions except to boil the beef bones with no spices at all. Sigh.

Now, you'd think that I could Google around and find a sukiyaki recipe that's pretty close and go from there, right? There's one problem: what he calls "suki yaki" isn't. With real sukiyaki, the ingredients are brought to the table raw, and people cook them in the broth right at the table. With my father's dish, it's brought to the table already cooked. I haven't been able to find out what it really is, or if it's any more authentic Japanese cooking than chop suey is Chinese.

So, this past weekend I decided to bite the bullet and, cross-referencing a few other recipes which have a similar taste, take a stab at it. Not knowing how much of anything to use, or when to add the stuff, or where to use the butter, I made something, and.. well, I didn't hit the bull's eye, but I did hit somewhere on the target. Much too much broth for the solid ingredients, but that's OK - I can try again with the extra broth.

All this is a roundabout way of explaining why the "pseuki yaki," as I have dubbed it, that appears in this lunch, is not yet available as a recipe because it's still in the beta stage. I want to be able to give you all a real recipe rather than ballpark guesstimates. It'll be worth it, I think.

Oh, yeah - I also have rice, and a truly awesome fruit salad with banana, strawberries, kiwi fruit, persimmon, and blood orange segments. Why, yes, some friends did take me to a huge Farmer's Market this weekend; how did you guess?

Wanna talk about it?