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Diets of the World: The Japanese Diet

Japanese Recipes continued...

2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red peppers and saute for 30 seconds. Add the burdock root and saute until tender, about 3 minutes; it will appear translucent on the surface. Stir in the carrot and saute for 2 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to low and add the sake, soy, mirin, and sugar. Stir the vegetables for 1 minute more to allow them to absorb the sauce. Remove and discard the red peppers and arrange the vegetables in a mound in the center of a serving bowl and garnish with the sesame seeds.

Excerpted from Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat by Naomi Moriyama and William Doyle. Copyright © 2005 by Naomi Moriyama and William Doyle. Excerpted by permission of Delta, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Beef Over Rice

Serves 4

Here's a perfect example of how Japanese home cooks create a delicious and filling beef dish -- with very small portions of beef. An abbreviated version of sukiyaki (a combination of thinly sliced beef and vegetables in a sweet soy broth), this is spooned over hot cooked rice in a bowl.

Thinly sliced beef is available in the freezer section of most Japanese markets. It's convenient to use, extremely tender and perfect for this healthy cold-weather dish. If you choose to purchase the beef in a regular market, freeze the meat before you cut it. This will enable you to carve it (with an extremely sharp knife) into paper-thin slices.

I often think that the best part of this beef bowl isn't the beef, but the hot nutty rice saturated with the sweet beef juices.

2 cups dashi (a fish-and-sea-vegetable stock, available online or in Asian grocery stores)

¼ cup sake (rice wine)

1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved and cut into thin crescents

1 Tokyo negi (or 1 small leek), with roots and rough portion of the top cut off, cleaned, rinsed and cut diagonally into thin slices

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon fine-ground sea salt

1 teaspoon mirin (a cooking wine made from glutenous rice)

½ pound very thinly sliced beef fillet (about 1/8 inch thick), or, if you prefer, ground beef

6 cups hot cooked brown or white rice

1 scallion, roots and top portion cut off, and thinly sliced

1. Place the dashi and sake in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and Tokyo negi (or leek) and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the soy, sugar, salt, and mirin. Add the beef and simmer until it is just cooked through, about 40 seconds (it will cook rapidly if cut into paper-thin slices).

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