Other than bentos, rice bowls are very popular in Japan. Japanese fast food chains such as Yoshinoya and many curry house restaurants offer simple and delicious rice bowls such as beef bowl, curry rice bowls, chicken and egg rice bowls, etc. Known as donburi in Japanese, these rice bowls are very popular especially for the working professionals. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have always been fascinated by this particular food culture in Japan. Every corner you turn, you will see bento and rice bowls signboards, all touting their signature dishes and endless choices.
I am a huge fan of Japanese donburi, especially rice bowls topped with savory simmered dish, for example: sukiyaki donburi. Sukiyaki is a traditional Japanese nabemono (hot pot) dish, where various types of ingredients such as meat, tofu, vegetables, mushrooms, noodles are simmered in a savory broth, and the foods are shared communal style. Sukiyaki is a special-occasion dish, mostly prepared to mark a celebration, when everyone sits around a table, have great conversations while enjoying the food. Sukiyaki Donburi is basically the “fast food” version, where the dish is served on top of steamed white rice, in a big rice bowl.
Even though the traditional Sukiyaki is a fall/winter dish, sukiyaki donburi is an everyday dish that anyone can enjoy throughout the year. You don’t need a birthday, graduation, anniversary to have sukiyaki. Who wouldn’t want to eat a rice bowl topped with savory and sweet simmered beef, vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, and noodles? I personally would want to eat it every day!
Making sukiyaki donburi is actually very quick and easy. You can prepare the dish in about 30 minutes. The best thing about this recipe is that you can pack the leftover into a bento the next day (the flavor develops overnight and tastes even better). You don’t need the immaculate 5-compartment bento box but any simple one compartment tupperware, container, or bento box will do.
I used Mizkan (Bonito-Flavored) Soup Base and Mizkan Honteri Mirin to make this sukiyaki donburi. I added sake and sugar to complete the traditional flavor. The key is getting really good (and fatty) beef that are thinly sliced, shirataki noodles, some Tokyo negi (Japanese scallion), and shungiku, which can be found at Japanese grocery stores. You can also turn this into a Chicken sukiyaki, using chicken meat instead of beef.
Sukiyaki donburi is a delicious rice bowl that everyone can enjoy!