How to Cook Like a Sumo Wrestler
Electing to have 320-pound men thunder aggressively toward you in a sport whose English translation is “mutual bruising” might not sound like the smartest life choice, but that’s the reality for the few sumo elite. Sumo remains misunderstood by most American sports fans who, if asked, would probably respond with a quip about fat men in diapers or how awesome it was when Lex Luger and his Road House haircut body-slammed Yokozuna for the USA.
But sumo traces its traditions back thousands of years—everything from communal living to gargantuan diets (eating 20,000 calories a day would not be considered odd in the least). And some of that tradition is coming to New York in the form of a sumo stew party. Organizer Michael Harlan Turkell said he was inspired after going to a two-week tournament in Japan. “The sport is so steeped in culture, and aside from the wrestling, the ring, the traditional garb and revelry, there's an inspired food component.” So he and the Brooklyn Kitchen will stream live matches and serve up sumo-sized portions of chankonabe—sumo stew—this weekend. “It’s the chankonabe that sumos eat before matches and before their daily naps that fuels them for the match.”
For those who can’t make the party, we got a hold of the Brooklyn Kitchen's sumo stew recipe so you can have some before your own weekend nap.
(Serves 4 healthy eaters)
- 3 pounds chicken bones
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- Salt to taste
- 2 inch piece of daikon—peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces and blanched
- 1 large waxy potato, cut into bite-sized pieces and blanched
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into bias rounds
- 1/2 head Napa cabbage, cored and cut into large pieces
- 6 shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and stemmed
- 1/2 pound deboned chicken thighs, cut into strips
- 1/2 bunch chrysanthemum greens or other bright tender green, trimmed
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced top or bottom round beef
- 1 pound udon noodles
Combine chicken bones, garlic and 14 cups cold water in a large pot. Once it has reached a boil, skim any foam and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 3 hours. Once reduced, strain and transfer stock to a new, large pot.
Add soy sauce and mirin to the stock, season with salt to taste and bring to medium simmer. Add the vegetables and soften for 2 minutes. Add chicken thighs and cook for 5 minutes. Add beef and cook for a few more minutes (see Note).
Once all the meat and vegetables have been consumed and all that is left is broth, add the udon noodles, cook for about 5 minutes and serve.
Note: Traditionally, meat and vegetables are added in portions. Add 1/3 of the vegetables and meat, eat them, then add more.
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The sumo party runs from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 16. You can get tickets—which also include a bento box and plenty of Japanese beer, sake and whiskey—here.