I was so pleased to read an article in the NY Times a couple of months ago about shaved steak, because thinly sliced beef (and pork) are mainstays in Japanese markets, for good reason: the meat cooks quickly, turns out incredibly tender and is so versatile to use. But outside of Philly cheese steaks (Yo Philly!!), I don't see shaved beef used much in American cooking. That's too bad. I like to keep packs of shaved meat handy in the freezer to pull together a meal in a snap (it defrosts quickly). Here's one irresistible example: This incredibly delicious beef udon (niku udon) -- noodles in broth topped with beef -- a hugely popular dish in Japan. The beef in the recipe, which is simmered with onions that turn incredibly delectable and sweet, also goes great with somen noodles, plus you can use any leftover meat as a topping for steamed rice (niku don). Add a raw or poached egg to the broth, if you'd like, for more richness. Preparing this dish is super easy and fast, as you'll see below. I used beautifully marbled sukiyaki beef I found at my local Japanese market, but other cuts of shaved steak work great, too (see the article). The recipe follows the jump, enjoy!
For four servings:
For the beef
300 grams shaved beef (about 2/3 pounds), sliced into bite-sized strips
1 medium onion (about 200 grams or 1/2 pound), thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
For the udon noodles
4 bricks fresh-frozen udon or equivalent dry udon
shichimi togarashi, to taste
To prepare the broth, combine the dashi, soy sauce, mirin and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the liquid boils, remove from heat and set aside.
To prepare the beef, add the beef, onion, water, sake, soy sauce and sugar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. When the liquid boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, or until the beef and onions are tender and most of the liquid evaporates (you want a little liquid left).
Prepare the udon noodles following package instructions. While the udon cooks, reheat the broth is necessary.
To assemble, add noodles to a bowl, top with the beef, and pour in the broth. Accent with shichimi togarashi. Serve immediately. (Don't forget to slurp your noodles, Japanese-style!)