My how quickly the weather can change. Yesterday it was unseasonably warm and raining. Today temperatures dropped to -10 C and a snow storm set in. As luck would have it the Hooded Triple Chair opened just as we reached mid station and we were lucky enough to ski first tracks in knee-deep powder. Unfortunately it was a total white-out and we couldn’t see where we going and it was mighty cold as the wind picked up. Fortunately we knew the run well enough to make it down the mountain in tact. We then spent almost an hour thawing out at King Bell Hut. All I can say is that when this snow front passes and the weather clears the skiing will be sensational.
Last night we had dinner at A-Bu-Cha. Bakery by day and modern izakaya by night. Somewhat of a Niseko stalwart. The draw-card? Sukiyaki. Thin slices of beef and vegetables simmered in a hot broth nabemono style. In traditional Japanese izakaya style there was a whole array of other dishes before we reached the main event. Beautifully presented. All washed down with local Sapporo Beer.
Complimentary appetisers were served in little dishes. Braised beef with turnip. Grilled salmon folded through mashed Hokkaido potatoes.
Followed by Grilled Hokkaido Charcoal Chicken.
And a Japanese Radish and Shiso Herb Salad.
Finally the piece de resistance. Sukiyaki with Shiraoi or Prime Hokkaido Beef. Kanto style. With all the ingredients added together into the cast iron pot. To simmer in a deliciously rich salty-sweet sugar and soy broth . Lightly beaten raw eggs were served as a dipping sauce for the sukiyaki ingredients.
One pot meals in the nabemono style are extremely popular in Japan in the cold winter months. Popular for their simplicity and healthy cooking style. Nabemono is the term used to describe meals prepared at the table in a pot over a portable gas ring. For a little taste of Japan at home, here is a sukiyaki recipe you might like to try at home. A trip to the Japanese grocery store might be in order to source some of the more exotic ingredients.
Serves 4 as a main
600 g beef sirloin, very thinly sliced
250 g fresh shirataki noodles
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and a cross-cut into the top of each
2 baby leeks or 4 spring onions, cut into 2 cm lengths on the diagonal
1/2 Chinese cabbage, cut into 3 cm sections, keep the layers together
1 Japanese radish, sliced into thin discs
1 carrot, sliced into thin discs
300 g tofu cut into 3 cm cubes
4 small eggs for dipping
steamed rice as an accompaniment
For the Broth
500 ml dashi
125 ml Japanese soy sauce
80 ml mirin
1 1/2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons sugar
SET UP a shallow cast iron or ceramic pot over a gas burner or electric hot plate.
TO PREPARE the broth. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour into your cast iron or ceramic pot.
LAYER noodles, cabbage, carrot, radish leeks, mushrooms and tofu into the pot. Place beef slices on top.
COVER and cook for 8 – 10 minutes. Vegetables should be tender and beef just cooked through.
CRACK one egg into a small serving bowl per person and beat carefully with chopsticks. This is the dipping sauce for the cooked sukiyaki.
SERVE. In Japan sukiyaki is cooked on the dining table, and each person uses chopsticks to pick up the ingredients from the pan as they are cooked.
ASK guests to help themselves and dip each cooked ingredient into the egg if they wish. The residual heat will cook the egg.
AT the end of the meal serve the broth with steamed rice to finish the meal.