Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Perhaps Japan’s most famous dish: beef and vegetables cooked with soy sauce and sake at the table. An electric frypan is ideal for the purpose. The cooking time is brief and the food is cooked and eaten in several batches. To cut the beef into paper-thin slices, wrap first in plastic wrap and place in freezer until firm enough to slice easily.


Quantity Ingredient
2 onions, finely sliced
6 spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths
1 eggplant, finely sliced
125g chinese cabbage, cut into 6 cm strips
6 dried mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, drained, stalks removed, sliced
125g bean sprouts
225g tinned bamboo shoots, drained and cut into wedges
1kg beef or scotch fillet, cut into paper‑thin slices
60g beef suet, chopped
light soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons sake or dry sherry
250ml beef stock
125g bean curd
60g rice vermicelli, cut into 10 cm lengths
rice, boiled, to serve
eggs, to serve
soy sauce, to serve


  1. Arrange vegetables and beef in separate rows on a platter.
  2. Heat a large iron pan or electric frypan. Rub with some suet, then fry fat for about 5 minutes or until pan is well greased. Remove any remaining pieces of suet. Sauté batch of onions and spring onions for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add batch of remaining vegetables, soy sauce and sugar to taste and sake, then moisten with stock. Add some bean curd and cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Push all ingredients to side of pan, add batch of beef and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, adding some vermicelli for the last minute.
  5. Guests help themselves from pan, to which more meat and vegetables are added for second helpings. Before cooking second helping, add more suet. Traditionally, each diner breaks a raw egg into their bowl, beats it lightly with chopsticks, adds a little soy sauce if liked, and then dips hot food in it before eating, but some prefer to omit this step. Serve with boiled rice.
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