Gathering Around a Hot Plate for Yakiniku

Two plates of yakiniku being fried up.

Sitting around a table making yakiniku has to be among my all-time favorite eating experiences. The word itself describes it: yaki, meaning grilled or fried and niku, meaning meat.

It’s a meal where everyone joins in to cook (or should, but usually one person ends up taking charge of things), adding pre-cut veggies and thin-sliced meat to a table-set grill or hot plate. When the veggies and meats are done, , dip them in a savory sauce and eat.

It’s pretty simple, and the act of everyone gathering around trying not to burn themselves makes for a pretty fun time. It’s something my family has done every New Year’s Day for as long as I remember.

The prep work of cutting up the veggies is the hardest. Onions, mushrooms and cabbage and zucchini are good, but any grilling vegetable works. For the meat, ask to have the meat sliced very thin, about the width of deli meat, and guess about a half pound to a pound of meat per person.

Yakiniku from the sauce to the rice.
Yakiniku from the sauce to the rice.

Oil up a hot plate, turn on medium high and start with the onions and zucchini, or other items with long cooking time.Add the rest when the onions are half done, and add more as you feel like. Pick what you like, dip in a small bowl of sauce, maybe get a bite of rice to go with it and eat.

You can purchase yakiniku sauce at various Asian Grocery stories, but you also can make your own sauce. Here’s one I found on

1/3 cup soysauce
3 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp grated garlic

Grind sesame seeds. Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir well.

6 thoughts on “Gathering Around a Hot Plate for Yakiniku

  1. I love soysauce but not the high sodium content.
    What low sodium sauce can be substituted for the soysauce in this recipe?

  2. I often just use Kikkoman low-sodium soy sauce, which you can get at almost any grocery store. I’ve also heard of other completely non-soy sauce substitutes, like the one Registered Voter suggest (I also found another one in the Honolulu Advertiser, but am a little skeptical. But it’d be wrong of me to judge without trying. I’ll give those two recipes a try this week and let you know how it goes.

  3. “What low sodium sauce can be substituted for the soysauce in this recipe?”

    Well how about “Low Sodium Soy sauce”? Kikomans makes a decent one.

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