Table of Contents
WHAT IS DOTEYAKI?
Doteyaki is a slowly simmered stew using beef tendon, konjac and miso. Originally, it used to be made using an iron pot or plate and then stewed in miso until deliciously tender. The miso is lined on the inner banks of the iron pot and the meat is baked inside. In recent times, regular saucepans have been used to stew due to its ease of use.
Doteyaki originated from 1920 in Osaka, however there is no specific point at which it started. Sakunosuke Oda, a Japanese writer, wrote that many foods (similar to doteyaki) started to appear in street vendors. From there it slowly developed into the doteyaki we know today.
Tendons are commonly used in Japanese cuisine, especially in Oden. Firstly, it should be cooked over long periods of time to become deliciously tender. This is because they are extremely tough and fibrous. As a result, if they are not cooked properly, it will become extremely tough, therefore correct cooking is vital.
Beef tendons are quite difficult to find as they are most common in the southern part of Japan, Kansai and Kyuushu. Tendons are commonly used in other neighbouring, Asian countries Therefore, if you can not find beef tendons, another, suitable for stewing, is okay. For instance, pork shoulder is a common alternative.
Konjac is made from konjac potato, which is sliced, dried and grinded into a flour like powder. After, It is then mixed with water and limewater. It is typically used in Japanese dishes such as Oden and while it doesn’t offer much flavour wise, it offers health benefits, containing very little calories.
The combination of flavours is common throughout Japanese cuisine. The slow stewing creates a hearty dish, which reminds Japanese people of those meals cooked by their mum or grandmother. Moreover, it is deep and rich, while being healthy. The slowly stewed beef tendons offer a luxurious tender mouth feel, resembling a top cut of high fat content beef. While konjac is rare in western countries, it bulks up the dish as well as offering a unique jelly like texture.
Within the Tokai region, there is a variation of the original Osaka born Doteyaki. From Osaka, it spread to the Tokai region just after the second world war. Within the Tokai region, in particular Nagoya, is famous for its red miso, which they use for their version of Doteyaki. As a result the red miso offers deeper, richer taste and the aroma is a lot more pungent. Any type of miso can be used, however they all differ in flavour:
Soybeans that have been fermented with white rice causing a white/beige like colour. White miso is sweet and is suitable for condiments.
Soybeans that have been fermented with barley and, on occasion, white rice, creating a yellow and brown colour. As a result, It has an earthy flavour and packs some more umami than white miso.
A higher ratio of soybean to barley is used, as well as some additional grains and longer fermentation, resulting in a darker red and brown colour. This results in a deep, umami packed miso that is great for braises and soups.
Any type of miso can be used and it depends on your preference. In addition, within Japan, there will be different flavours for each city as cities specialize in different miso so each region will be different in taste!
Beef - 300g
Konjac - 200g
Ginger - small knob
Leek - 1/2 stalk
Soy Sauce - 3tbsp
Sake - 3tbsp
Mirin - 3tbsp
Miso Paste - 60g
Water - 400ml
Dashi - Instant Pack
Spring onion - thinly slice
Seven spice powder (Shichimi)
HOW TO MAKE DOTEYAKI
Boil the beef, for a couple of minutes, to remove the odor of beef. Strain and discard the water. This step is vital as it will drastically change the final taste of the dish.
Boil the beef tendons in 400ml of water, leek and ginger. The leek and ginger will add further umami flavour to the broth and furthermore, it adds a little spiciness. This results in any further unwanted odors from the tendons.*
Skim the foam off the top of the boiling meat. The foam contains impurities from the beef tendons.
Gently cut a small gird into the konjac using a metal fork. As a result, having these marks will help the broth cling onto the konjac, adding more flavour. After, cut the konjac into bit size pieces.
Boil the konjac in a separate sauce pan for 3-5 minutes, which will help remove its natural strong odor. Strain through a colander, discard the water and set aside.
There should be no more foam on the beef. Next, strain through a colander and keep the broth! Finally, cut the tendons into bite size pieces.
Add the broth, beef and konjac into a saucepan. Add soy sauce, sake, mirin and dashi pack into the pan and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, lower heat so that the broth is simmering (light boil). Place a drop lid on the surface of the broth. (Otoshibuta in japanese)*
After 5 minutes, remove the dashi pack and simmer for 20 minutes, till the broth has reduced to around half.
When the broth is at your favoured consistency (should be sauce like consistency but it is up to you!), add the miso and mix. A key point is do not boil the miso!*
Serve into a small bowl and top with thinly sliced spring onions or shichimi powder.
2* I did not have a dashi pack and negi, so I boiled the tendons in pre-made dashi liquid.
7* Otoshibuta (drop lids) can be handmade from foil or baking paper. It is commonly used in Japanese cuisine, while simmering stews. This ensures even distribution of heat throughout the pan, keeping it at a gentle simmer. For instance, if the heat is too high, the stew may come to a strong boil, potentially destroying some of the ingredients inside the pan
9* Boiling miso will spoil the natural sweet and umami flavours of miso, so always add it to the end of your dish!
Doteyaki is perfect for a side dish while drinking some sake. Alternatively, it can also be served on top of some rice for a heart warming meal!
You can cook doteyaki by slowly stewing it in a saucepan. Therefore, if you are short of time, a pressure cooker can be used, which will dramatically decrease the cooking time, while still retaining the doteyaki flavour.
Spring onions (scallions)
Spring onions are very thinly sliced and topped on top of doteyaki. They offer a crunch as well as a refreshing zing to the heartiness of the meat and miso sauce. However, if they are cut too thick, they can become too overpowering and ruin the taste of the dish. Spring onions are quite pungent, which can be reduced by leaving them in ice cold water to remove some of the smell. In addition, it will help in creating a crunchier texture!
2. Shichimi (7 spice powder)
Shichimi is a Japanese spice mixture containing seven ingredients. Usually they include:
- Ground red chili pepper
- Ground sanshō – A kind of Japanese pepper
- Roasted orange/yuzu peel
- Black/white sesame seed
- hemp seed
- Ground ginger
- Nori (seaweed)
Shichimi offers a mellow spice as well as refreshing citrus tones from the orange/yuzu, which balances perfectly with the umami punch of the miso sauce.
Recommended places to eat Doteyaki
Doteyaki is such a common izazkaya dish that you can find pretty much anywhere. It’s a common dish that can be found in most izakayas as well as kushikatsu (deep fried skewered meat and vegetables) stores.
Tengu is an izakaya usually specialising in Kushikatsu, however, one of their dishes is doteyaki, which is served on a skewer. The meat and konjac is prepared in the same way, however, they are then removed from the sauce. Finally, the skewer is dipped in the sauce and enjoyed like yakitori (skewered chicken).
Address: Ebisuhigashi, Naniwaku, Osaka 556-0002 Osaka Prefecture
Doteyaki is note the most instagram appealing but it is real heart warming soul food that encompasses Japanese cuisine. The use of dashi and miso are core ingredients and creates a comforting dish that will always make you happy. Don’t be afraid of try the different kinds of miso as well as skewered and in a bowl!