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Traditional Japanese sukiyaki can totally be Brazilian or Peruvian too, just ask Nikkei chef Luiz Hara.

Brazil and Peru are two countries with vibrant, multinational food cultures, and Nikkei cuisine is no exception. A product of the Japanese diaspora, the Nikkei are ethnic Japanese who have lived in Latin America for generations. Their influence on Peruvian and Brazilian cooking resulted in a new kind of Asian food that is distinctly East Asian with South American twists, depending on the ingredients available over the years. Nikkei dishes have gained popularity in recent years, thanks to those like classically trained, Brazilian-born Japanese-Italian chef Luiz Hara, who continues to popularize this vibrant hybrid cuisine in London and just released a book of recipes. Can’t find sake for your sukiyaki? Dark beer will do very nicely. 

Sukiyaki is a Japanese hot pot enjoyed all over the world, but particularly in the Nikkei households of Brazil, where we have a real fondness for beef. Sake was hard to come by when I was a kid, so we substituted dark beer, which gave an extra richness to the broth, like a good carbonade of beef. To enjoy sukiyaki, we sit around the pot, pick out the ingredients as they are ready and take them into individual serving bowls. It’s a great social event, and fresh ingredients are added back to the hot pot until everyone is satisfied.

Cook’s note: If your butcher cannot cut the sirloin finely (about 1/8 inch thick), you can buy a piece of sirloin beef, partially freeze it and then cut it yourself at home. Alternatively, find a Japanese or Korean supermarket or butcher and buy the beef already cut for sukiyaki.

Reprinted with permission from Nikkei Cuisine