Sukiyaki is the ultimate comfort food – consisting of deliciously simmered vegetables and flavorful beef slices paired with a poached egg, I couldn't ask for a more well-balanced and tasty meal.
While it is undeniably delicious, is sukiyaki healthy?
Sukiyaki is not a very healthy dish given its higher calorie and fat content, driven largely by the usage of beef and the pairing of rice or carbs. A typical serving of sukiyaki is 724 calories with 42 grams of protein, 25 grams of fat, and 83 grams of carbs.
Thankfully, with mindful portioning, you can make a lower calorie sukiyaki to satisfy your cravings while staying on track for your fitness goals.
✅ Why This Recipe Works
Restaurant quality taste from home – By utilizing the key cooking techniques used to make top-tier sukiyaki, you can make restaurant-quality sukiyaki from home at a fraction of the cost without leaving the comfort of your own home
Cheaper than Eating Out – A typical sukiyaki meal is typically a higher cost meal, ranging from $50-$100 USD per person. By making it at home, you can satisfy your cravings at a fraction of the cost, at about $10-$15 USD per person at the time of writing.
Healthy and nutritious – This is a great healthy Japanese recipe was specially developed by yours truly to be low-calorie and macro-friendly, so you can satisfy your sukiyaki cravings while still staying in shape
💭 What is Sukiyaki?
Sukiyaki is a Japanese hot pot that consists of sliced beef and vegetables simmered in a soy-based dashi broth. It is often served with a side of egg yolk to dip the meat in before eating.
Traditionally, it is cooked in a cast iron pot, but you can also use a normal pot if you don't have one on hand.
It is also often paired with a side of rice or cooked with udon noodles to make a more well-rounded meal. It's one of my favorite healthy udon recipes.
🍎 Calories and Nutrition – Make it Healthy
While this recipe is made of a lot of “healthy” ingredients, the sheer number of the ingredients that go into this can easily add up in calories. Here’s how I portioned my sukiyaki to make sure it stayed in a reasonable calorie budget:
- I used 4oz of beef slices, which is about 210 calories.
- Omitted usage of sake and minimized use of sugar to make sukiyaki sauce (1 tsp). Sake is a high calorie ingredient and we get both the alcohol and sweetness from the mirin.
- Omitted usage of tofu. There's nothing wrong with tofu, which is packed with protein, but I'm already getting my protein from the beef and I'd like to limit the calorie content of this dish.
- Used half a pack of udon at 150 calories.
For a detailed breakdown of each ingredients, their portioning, and how they make up the nutrition profile of this low calorie sukiyaki recipe, you may refer to the table below:
📋 Ingredient Notes
The sauce usually consists of a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sake, dashi stock, and sugar. Most of these ingredients are relatively low calorie. However, it's best to keep higher calorie ingredients such as sake to a minimum or omit them.
Mirin – A sweet Japanese rice wine that is often used in Japanese cooking.
Soy Sauce – Key for making the base of this dish. My favorite brand is Kikkoman.
Dashi stock powder – A Japanese seafood based broth. You can buy the stock powder at most Asian or Japanese grocery stores.
Beef Slices – The star of any sukiyaki recipe is the beef slices, which are delicious soaked in the sukiyaki sauce. While beef is very delicious, it is not a lean protein like chicken and is therefore higher in calories from fat, so portion control is paramount here. A 4 ounce serving of beef has 217 calories, 21 grams of which are from protein and 15 grams from fat.
The plus side is that beef is one of the few protein sources that contain all amino acids needed for muscle growth. Learn more about essential amino acids in red meat.
Udon – Noodles are a great addition to sukiyaki. However, it’s important to portion this mindfully as carbs can easily add up calorie-wise. Rice would also go well with this dish.
Poached Egg – In Japan, the egg is typically used as a dipping sauce for the beef. Traditionally, it is left raw but in countries other than Japan, it's recommended to poach the egg to reduce the risk of salmonella infection.
See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.
📖 Substitutions and Variations
Make with chicken – Swap out the beef for chicken for a chicken-based sukiyaki.
Make with tofu – For vegetarians, swap out the beef for tofu.
Pair with rice – Swap the udon and eat the sukiyaki with a side of rice.
Swap out the udon for shirataki noodles – Shirataki noodles, or yam noodles, are another popular option for noodles to eat with sukiyaki. At only 25 calories a pack, they're a great way to cut down the calorie content of the dish while still including noodles.
🔪 Step by Step Instructions
Poach the egg – Begin by making poached egg. I made mine using the sous vide method, cooking it at 75 Celsius for 13.5 minutes. See this article about sous-vide poached eggs for more info. You can also poach it the traditional way – see this article for instructions.
Prepare the veggies – Cut and wash all the vegetables and set aside.
Make the sukiyaki sauce – In a small bowl, mix the sukiyaki sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
Cook the beef – Put cast iron pot over high heat. Place a slice of beef and sprinkle with some sauce, then flip. Do this for all of the beef slices.
Simmer the vegetables – Begin to arrange the cut vegetables in the cast iron pot. Then pour in the remainder of the sukiyaki sauce. Add about a cup of water and close the lid and let the pot simmer on medium to low heat for about 5 minutes. In a separate pot, prepare the udon noodles.
Garnish and Serve – Put poached egg in a bowl with soy sauce and garnish with furikake and togarashi. Remove from heat and enjoy!
🍽 How To Serve It
In restaurants, sukiyaki is typically served with a portable stove and the raw ingredients for you to cook yourself, similar to hot pot.
You can also do this at home, but most people probably don't own a portable stove. You can also pre-cook everything on the stove and serve fully cooked.
Serve with the egg dipping sauce and with a side of rice if using.
💡 Expert Tips
Adjust the sukiyaki broth – Taste the broth and adjust as needed. If it's too salty, add more water or sugar. If you would like it to be more salty, add more sukiyaki sauce.
Poach the egg and dip the meat before eating – With traditional Japanese sukiyaki, the beef is dipped in a raw egg yolk and eaten. This is because eggs in Japan go through a process where the eggs
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
The sauce is typically made of soy sauce, mirin, dashi stock, sugar, and sake. When I make the sauce, I typically omit the sake since it is relatively high in calories and the mirin is a good substitute for providing a similar depth in the flavor. I also minimize the usage of sugar to about 1tsp since the mirin also provides a natural sweetness.
Despite having a seemingly high number of healthy ingredients, sukiyaki can easily be a very high calorie dish given the usage of beef which is a higher calorie meat, as well as the addition of many other ingredients easily adding up. However, this can easily be remedied by portioning each ingredient carefully, such as what I did here, so that the recipe is at a manageable calorie content.
Sukiyaki is best made with thinly sliced rib-eye or chuck. If you are trying to be mindful about fat intake, look for ones that have less fat content by picking ones with less marbling.
🍽 Related Recipes
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Beef Sukiyaki Recipe
- Cast Iron Pot
- 2 tablespoon Mirin
- 2 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 3 oz Beef slices, chuck roast (Can use rib eye too but they tend to be fattier)
- 1 cup Water
- 1 teaspoon Dashi stock powder
- Shittake mushrooms
- Enoki mushrooms
- 1 Carrot
- ½ Yellow onion
- 1 Stalk green onion
- ½ pack Udon noodles
- 1 Egg (Poached)
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- Togarashi, furikake (For garnish)
- Begin by making poached egg. I made mine using the sous vide method, cooking it at 75 Celsius for 13.5 minutes.
- Cut and watch all the vegetables and set aside.
- Mix all the sukiyaki sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Put cast iron pot over high heat. Place a slice of beef and sprinkle with some sauce, then flip. Do this for all of the beef slices.
- Begin to arrange the cut vegetables in the cast iron pot. Then pour in the remainder of the sukiyaki sauce. Add about a cup of water and close the lid and let the pot simmer on medium to low heat for about 5 minutes. In a separate pot, prepare the udon noodles.
- Put poached egg in a bowl with soy sauce and garnish with furikake and togarashi. Remove from heat and enjoy!