When I was young, I hated eating meat that wasn’t cooked through. The sight of blood made me queasy and I couldn’t stomach it in my food at all. This carried through until my university days.
Things changed when hubby took me for a date (this is before we were married) and we both ordered steak. I asked for mine to be well-done (the thought makes me shudder now) and hubby asked for his to be medium-rare.
When the meals came out, my steak was unsurprisingly dry and tough. Reluctantly, I tried a bite of hubby’s and was shocked at the difference – it was so juicy and delicious! That moment was life-changing – no more well-done steak for me!
It’s so good that our tastes evolve and mature as we get older. My palate would be a lot more limited if I hadn’t grown to love things which I hated as a child. I’m still not a fan of peas and brussel sprouts, but am determined to find ways to cook them which would help me to enjoy them more. (If any of you have any suggestions to help me out, I would be really keen to hear them!)
Anyway, back to the point… I now really enjoy eating steak which is lovely and pink on the inside. One of the rarest ways I’ve eaten beef (other than steak tartare) is beef tataki. The beef is very lightly seared and then sliced thinly. The dressing always has a lot of savoury, umami flavour and is balanced by the cool, fresh vegetables served with it.
I have made a (Westernised) version of beef tataki before. I think that the recipe below is an improvement on this one. The addition of ginger really adds a wonderful punch and heat to the dressing which complements the steak and daikon perfectly. I know that I’ll be making this dish again and again!
I served it with my miso eggplant side dish.
If you don’t have mirin, just add a bit of sugar. And if you can’t get daikon (white radish) then you could use normal radishes. If you dislike raw radishes, use cucumber instead! There are plenty of ways to substitute components of this dish. This would also work very well with raw salmon instead of beef if you wish. Also, the reason I have such odd quantities for the lemon juice is because hubby grows freakishly large lemons for some reason – they are basically the size of grapefruit. Don’t worry too much about the quantities in the dressing though – in the end, it’s all down to taste and if you prefer your dressing to be saltier, sweeter, or more sour, then just add more of whatever!
Japanese beef tataki with soy, ginger and citrus dressing
4 Tbsp soy sauce
juice of a whole small lemon, or 1/2 large lemon
1 Tbsp mirin
knob of ginger (about 1-2cm long), grated
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
2 spring onions, sliced very thinly
1/2 daikon, grated or julienned
black sesame seeds, to garnish
Mix together the soy sauce, lemon juice, mirin, ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside for a bit to let the flavours mingle.
Rub the steak with oil and then lightly season with a bit of salt. Heat up a grill pan on high heat and then cook your steak to your level of preferred doneness.
Leave the steak to rest properly and then slice thinly across the grain. Lay it out on a platter.
Pile the daikon and spring onion on top of the beef in the middle. Spoon the dressing over it all, making sure to ladle some over the slices around the side as well. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and then serve.