What do you always have at hand in your freezer? I confess that my fridge/freezer suffers from severe overcrowding but we do clear out all the frozen stuff once in a while. But one thing I usually have handy are thin beef sliced – shabu beef that often ends up in steamboat or hotpot because the entire family loves beef.
I confess I’ve been thinking about beef stew for a while since binge-watching Midnight Diner on Netflix. This is an amazing series with vignettes of everyday people’s lives with food at the center. The reticent chef in the diner seems to be able to whip up any dish – almost at a whim…and discreetly gauges his patrons’ mood and character through the food they eat.
This beef stew is completely different from the hearty meat and potatoes stew that one sees in Western diners. I’m always amazed at how the Japanese have taken classic western cuisine and turned the dishes into something so distinctively Japanese and often better than the original version. Take hambagu vs hamburgers, Japanese cheesecake vs regular cheesecake. The key is usually to have a good dashi soup base to the savory dishes.
This was a pretty quick recipe. Thinly sliced beef takes practically no time to cook and I just simmered the stew long enough for the root vegetables to be cooked through. I used daikon radish instead of potatoes to keep the carbs low. The daikon and carrots gave the stew a sweet flavor – a typical Japanese sweet-salty flavor profile. The shirataki noodles were a legitimate part of this dish – yes, Japanese stews seem to feature shirataki noodles. We decided to put enough of the noodles in to serve it like a noodle dish.
So here’s the recipe – it was truly gratifying that the entire stew pot was empty at the end of our lunch! This recipe is a keeper.
Low Carb Japanese Stew
- 1 kg thinly sliced shabu beef
- 1 whole daikon radish
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 150g sweet peas
- 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 2 pieces of konbu kelp
- 1 cup bonito flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 5 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp ryorishu junryo rice wine
- 1 tbsp sugar substitute (I used erythritol)
- 6 cups water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 packets of shirataki noodles
- Cut the daikon into 1 inch rings and quarter them. Cut the carrots into 1 inch wedges as well. Trim the ends of the sweet peas. Slice the onion into thin wedges. Cut the beef slices into half.
- Place the konbu into 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. The moment the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat and add the bonito flakes. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 – 10 minutes and strain the broth. Set aside. 3.Bring another pot of water to boil and blanch the sweet peas for 1 minute, then drain and put the sweet peas into a bowl of ice water. This retains the fresh green colour of the sweet peas.
- In a large casserole or stew pot, heat up the oil and saute the onions for 1 minute. Add the beef slices and stirfry for another 2-3 minutes. Add the daikon, carrots, dashi broth, salt, sugar, soy sauce, mirin and rice wine and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Skim off the oil and the scum from the surface of the stew.
- Prepare the shirataki noodles. I usually drain and rinse the noodles and dry fry in a non-stick pan to get rid of the funky smell. Cut the noodles into smaller lengths. Add the shirataki noodles and sweet peas and stir through.
- Serve hot.