Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, known throughout the world for his seamless integration of Western and Japanese ingredients and techniques, has several family Christmas traditions that he developed while growing up in Hiroshima, Japan:
"My traditional holiday dish to make and eat with my family is Sukiyaki, which is a one-pot soup or stew that is usually cooked at the table as you eat with family and friends. The typical ingredients are beef, vegetables, and tofu,, which are simmered at the table in a shallow iron pot of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. On Christmas night, my family would get together and eat Sukiyaki which is always a great memory for me. When I was little, beef was really expensive, so my sister and I would always fight over the beef in the dish! It's funny to look back on now, and eating Sukiyaki with my family is one of my fondest memories."
*Other recommended vegetables: broccoli, carrots, onion, daikon radish, kale, bean sprouts. Try any other vegetables of your preference!
Slice the yaki- tofu in half horizontally and cut into bite-size cubes. Place a large sauté pan on a medium heat. Lightly oil the pan. If you use firm tofu, grill the pieces on the pan, turning once, until brown on both sides for about 2 minutes per side. Let them cool.
Put water into a medium saucepan over a high heat and bring to a boil. Add the shirataki and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 minute to lightly cook, then drain and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.
Choose a shallow pot, preferably ceramic, which can go from the stove to the table. Or use a chafing dish. Pour soy sauce, sake, sugar, and water into the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add beef and sauté for 1 minute. Add Chinese cabbage, tofu, mushrooms, other vegetables, and return the liquid to a boil. Add the reserved shirataki noodles. Cook for 5 minutes.
Transfer the pot to a table and serve. Please be careful for the hot pot. For family with children, serve into individual bowls before serving.
*If you want to see a professional version of Sukiyaki recipe, check my cookbook “Morimoto The New Art of Japanese Cooking” on page 142, “Chicken Sukiyaki”.