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The Underrated Japanese Dish Chef Markee Manaloto Says You Need To Try

Sukiyaki cooking in pot with ingredients
Sukiyaki cooking in pot with ingredients - Atsushi Hirao/Shutterstock

Plenty of Japanese dishes have risen in popularity in America over the last few decades. From crispy chicken Katsu with rice to a vast lineup of diverse sushi and sashimi, there's a whole lot to choose from. While there's nothing wrong with opting for one of these familiar favorite fares, equally delicious Japanese dishes have long been overlooked, and many of these meals deserve their own recognition.

In an exclusive Q&A with Daily Meal, chef Markee Manaloto, executive chef and partner at Mishik in New York City, told us that "A dish that's truly under the radar would be something like sukiyaki, which is essentially the Japanese version of hot pot but with a broth flavored with soy sauce, sugar, and mirin — a classic combination of Japanese flavors."

Sukiyaki is a family-style comfort food beloved for its rich, vibrant ingredients and bold, savory flavor. With all those wonderful qualities, it's a dish that Manaloto thinks people everywhere should seek out and taste. "I really think more people need to try sukiyaki. It's a rich, umami-forward pot of the best of Japanese flavors."

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

How To Enjoy This Classic Japanese Dish

Bowl of sukiyaki tilted toward viewer
Bowl of sukiyaki tilted toward viewer - excape/Shutterstock

Sukiyaki is an essential Japanese dish that's not only flavorful, it's also an especially versatile meal consisting of different meats, noodles, and a medley of vegetables made in a nabemono, or one-pot, style. While a beef sukiyaki recipe is very popular, the ingredients are up to the chef. Usually, though, these soups consist of ingredients like napa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, well-marbled and thinly sliced ribeye, tofu, shirataki noodles, and more. These ingredients are cooked together in a pot of simmering broth until bubbly and fragrant, then served while steamy and warm. "Whether you want a seafood broth or beef broth, just add some slices of meat, some vegetables, some tofu, and maybe some mushrooms, and enjoy with friends," Markee Manaloto said of making this dish.

Once you've eaten all those wholesome ingredients out of the bowl, and there's still some broth left at the bottom, Manaloto encourages people to never sacrifice the last of these savory spoonfuls. "I recommend adding in some udon noodles or rice cakes to soak everything up and enjoy it until the last drop," he told Daily Meal.

This dish is a perfect comfort food to indulge in during the colder months, or for those seeking a well-rounded boost of protein and flavor. Another big pull of sukiyaki: Because of all its diverse, complimentary flavors, there are plenty of food and drinks that pair well with it too.

What Pairs Best With A Comforting Bowl Of Sukiyaki

tsukemono pickled Japanese vegetables
tsukemono pickled Japanese vegetables - akiyoko/Shutterstock

For a truly complete dining experience, Markee Manaloto encourages lovers of Japanese cuisine to try sukiyaki alongside some other underrated Japanese fare. "Enjoy a big bowl of sukiyaki with some tsukemono — Japanese pickled vegetables that also fly under the radar — over some rice and you're in heaven," he said.

When it comes time to think about drink pairings, it's best to consider what type of meat you're using in your sukiyaki. Typically, balanced red wines are a popular choice for sukiyaki. A medium-bodied pinot noir, for example, is a great option with its high acidity and deep cherry notes, all of which bring a satisfying contrast to the umami flavors of sukiyaki. Additionally, a vivid sake, such as a koshu or arabashiri, would also do well alongside sukiyaki. Since these beverages boast their own fruit-forward notes, from sweet plum to fresh pear, they'll also hold their own against the depth of sukiyaki's savory tastes.

So the next time you're craving some Japanese fare, why not skip out on the usual suspects of ramen or tempura? A bowl of sukiyaki, with its sweet, salty, and savory flavors alike, is just waiting to be tried.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.