Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Sukiyaki at Home

We discovered this new food delivery service through our friends E and J who posted very nice pictures of their products the other day. These days we are eating at home more often than ever and obviously we are always on the look-out for any decent place that could save us the trouble of having to prep everything by ourselves all the time. 

Koui specializes in Japanese sukiyaki and sukiyaki alone, and operates exclusively through online channels. Their menu was simple – it came in as set for 2 people with a choice of either beef or pork – plus a few optional add-on items (more meat, sides or drinks). All we need to do was choose what we want and messaged them the day before.

Our order arrived on schedule the next day and came nicely packed inside a freezer bag. We were so impressed with the packaging – inside the wooden box were the slices of A5-grade Miyazaki wagyu beef, each individually wrapped (so they didn't stick together), and in the other box underneath was the rest of the ingredients needed for sukiyaki, including all the vegetables, tofu, kamikama, konyaku, udon, eggs and last but not least, warishita which came in a plastic pouch and is the sauce used for cooking. All of them are well-arranged, just like how they were presented in any high-end sukiyaki restaurant right from the boxes. 

With everything already prepared for us, all we needed was the stove and the pot so the meal was served within minutes. The way we did was to start greasing the pot using the little blob of cow fat that came with the package, and gave the scallions, onions and the slices of beef a quick grill on the pot. Then we poured in the warishita and continue to cook the rest of the ingredients, starting with those take took the longest – the shiitake mushrooms and daikon, followed by the cabbage, tofu, konyaki and enoki mushrooms. We thought we had a pot big enough to fit everything (a 24cm cast-iron pot) but turned out their food portion was so generous that we needed to do it over a few rounds. Meanwhile we began to enjoy the food with the raw egg cracked into a bowl as dipping sauce. 

I got the say the quality was definitely on par with some of the best sukiyaki dishes we had in a proper restaurant in town. The beef, which I thought come from the striploin cut, has the nice marbling and perfect fat balance coming from the area well-known for its wagyu beef. The vegetables, other than the fact they were all neatly arranged in the box, were all fresh and tasty. They certainly didn't skim on the finer details. I did adjust the warishita sauce slightly by adding additional sugar while cooking to balance some of the rich flavor, but then it’s just up to my personal preference. 

We finished with Shungiku, the leafy garland chrysanthemum leaves which came into season in spring and is considered the classic sukiyaki ingredient, and then udon noodles, which soaked up the sauce and the fat and jus from the meat cooking. With the rich sukiyaki dish we went for an equally rich bottle of sake from one of our favorite breweries up north. The Aramasa Viridian showed excellent floral aroma, semi-dry and rounded flavor, done in the most classic way of Kimoto and aged in wooden barrel. Listed just as Kimoto Kioke Junmai (木桶生酛純米) but with indigenous cross-breed rice (called Misato-nishiki 美鄉錦) polished to Junmai Daiginjo category (40%).

When? February 10 2020
Where? Kitchen at 17A. Food ordered from Koui Sukiyaki
Menu Highlights? Whole set of Beef Sukiyaki! 
2019 Aramasa Viridian Junmai Daiginjo
新政 天鷲絨ヴィリジアン 純米大吟醸 BYO1
Web: (Instagram) www.instagram.com/koui_sukiyaki/

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