Sweet and Savory Sukiyaki with Tofu and Vegetables

Sweet & Savory Sukiyaki with Tofu & Vegetables
Sukiyaki, with its sweet, savory and richly beefy broth despite the tiny amount of beef in it, turns a wide range of vegetables and tofu products into delicious Japanese comfort food. DASH diet followers need to watch for the sugar (just don’t drink the broth!), but otherwise it’s an easy DASH diet dinner item.

Sukiyaki is one of the better known Japanese dishes. Yet, despite its name recognition, sukiyaki doesn’t seem to be a regular on US Japanese restaurant menus these days. Which is kind of a shame, because it’s really tasty, easy and versatile. This sweet and savory sukiyaki with tofu and vegetables makes a tasty Japanese comfort dinner on cold, drizzly winter night.

Sukiyaki in its original form is a hot pot dish. You gather around a simmering shallow cast iron pot on the table, where thinly sliced beef, onions, mushrooms, tofu and other goodies are cooked right there. It’s a fun party dish when you have a group or just for the family. In Japanese homes, sukiyaki is sometimes made in the kitchen and brought out in individual bowls to the table, just like other non-hot pot foods, which is what I’m doing here.

The “soup” base is pretty simple, just a mix of soy sauce, sugar and mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine, which can be substituted with sugar). The beef can be, and often is, made the star of the show, but sukiyaki can also be made with just a couple of ounces of beef and a ton of vegetables. To make sure that a rich, beefy essence permeates all the other ingredients, use a cut of beef with a good layer of fat, or nice marbling throughout. I think mine was a brisket.

Other possible items you can use: Various mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, beech/shimeji, enoki, king trumpet, etc.), leeks, shirataki, napa cabbage, komatsuna, chrysanthemum leavescarrots, turnips and even potatoes. Sukiyaki can also be made with pork or chicken. If going vegetarian, I’d use kombu (kelp) to boost the umami in the broth and maybe swap the broiled tofu with a fried tofu to give it a bit more of a bite.

One yellow flag in this sukiyaki dish for DASH diet followers is that it can fill up your daily sugar intake limit . The trick is to not drink the broth. Without the broth, the amount of sugar absorbed in the tofu, vegetables and beef is probably half of what’s used, which makes it a much more reasonable 1/4 serving or so of sugar.

Print Recipe
Sweet and Savory Sukiyaki with Tofu and Vegetables
DASH diet considerations: This sukiyaki tofu and vegetables leverages the typical Asian approach of using meat as seasoning to cut down on the DASH diet servings of meat. The bulk of the protein comes from the tofu, rather than the beef. The dish can be loaded up with a lot of different vegetables, and the sweet, savory and rich broth makes everything taste addictively delicious and comforting.

One yellow flag in this sukiyaki dish for DASH diet followers is its impact on your daily sugar intake. Sukiyaki broth is on the sweet side, and one serving of the sukiyaki does come with ¼-½ serving of sugar. All is not lost, though: You can stay on the low side of the spectrum by not drinking the broth. (This is hard to do--it’s so yummy! Lol.) For this reason, it’s probably better to serve the sukiyaki and rice separately, rather than make it into a sukiyaki don (sukiyaki rice bowl).

DASH diet servings:
2.5 vegetables & fruits
1 meats & fish
2 nuts & beans
¼-½ sweets & sugar
400-500 mg sodium
Prep Time 30 minutes
Prep Time 30 minutes
  1. Place the gobo, daikon and onion in a saucepan and pour water until it comes up to about 80% of the ingredients.
  2. Add the soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Stir, and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
  3. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a medium simmer.
  4. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until all the ingredients are cooked through.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the brisket and broiled tofu. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until the beef is cooked through and tofu is heated.
  6. Serve with pickled red ginger. If you don’t have it, don’t sweat it, but the pickled ginger does add an awesome acidic tang to this sweet-savory dish.

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