Lao Suki Yaki


According to wikipedia,

Sukiyaki in Laos takes the form of a bowl of bean thread noodles, various vegetables, thinly-sliced beef and other meats or seafood, sukiyaki sauce, and a raw egg in beef broth. The sukiyaki sauce is made from coconut, fermented tofu, tahini, peanut butter, sugar, garlic, lime and spices.


That’s a general explanation of it. My mom made the sauce with red curry, pickled garlic, fermented red bean curd, peanut butter, dried shrimp and love. It was my most favorite dish growing up. After we used up all the broth, we would also eat it this way.




When we found out that my mom didn’t have much longer to live, I realized I might not ever have her cooking again. Nor will my children get to taste how great their grandmother cooked. That’s when I decided I wanted to make a cookbook of Maman’s recipes and stories of the times I spent in the kitchen with her. That project has been worked on and off in the past 3 years. Still working on it.




I remember in the last couple weeks before my mom’s passing, she wanted to make suki yaki with me one last time. I couldn’t have asked for a better thing to do with her. Since it takes all day, it took a lot of energy out of her, so she did it with naps in between. I did everything, with her guidance. Now when I make it, I can picture us in my aunts kitchen, barefoot. Me in jeans, her in her pajamas. She was so frail and seemed smaller since the cancer was sucking the life out of her. But here she was, spending this time with me, telling me how to do everything her way.

I will forever be transported to that day whenever I cook this.

Suki Yaki at Mama Miemo’s

A few weeks ago, I scrounged up the confidence to make my mom’s suki yaki sauce. From that I made a delicious soup, my most favorite noodle soup dish that she used to make. And I made it, and it was good. Very proud of myself. It brought in a swirl of warm comfort and memories of my mom. But more on that in another post.

When you make this sauce you get a huge pot of it, and so I froze some for later use. This was the later use.

Traditionally, Suki Yaki is the term used for a hot pot meal in Japan. I call this meal sukiyaki because of the sauce. We grilled meat instead of cooked it in a hot pot. This is how we did it at my house.

I marinated some beef, cut up some pork belly, and cleaned and deveined/shelled shrimp. I washed some napa cabbage, sliced up onions, green onions, and mushrooms. Everyone gets a little dish of suki yaki sauce, a plate of rice and chopsticks.

..and butter… a small bowl of cut up butter. We gather around the griddle, butter it up, and throw the meat and veggies on there, and everything just cooks together. The onions caramelize and it just smells awesome. It was great to have everyone over, gathered around the table enjoying the meal, sharing laughs and love.

I am working on writing all these recipes, so if you see anything that I make that you’d like to know how to make, let me know!