Monday, January 09, 2006

Gyuniku Sashimi or Japanese Rare Beef Cubes

This quickly and easily prepared Japanese recipe is a lot less prevalent in Japanese restaurants than you might expect. If offered, it most likely will be listed on the menu as Gyuniku Sashimi, or Beef Sashimi. We have also heard it referred to as Japanese Steak Tartare.

A very significant aspect of the preparation is to brown the tenderloin in two one-half pound pieces and then place it in ice water for a couple of minutes before cutting it. Thereafter, some options are available, the most relevant of which is explained beneath the recipe to follow.

To get you started is a recipe that for us has proven the test of time, exactly as presented over two decades ago in the spiral bound Japanese Cooking Class Cookbook by the editors of Consumer Guide. Although this cookbook is not particularly well-known, the instructions for each recipe are set forth in a manner that can be understood and followed by any novice. Just as important is that the recipes are authentic and uniformly delicious.

1 pound beef tenderloin, about 2 inches thick
7 ounces daikon
2 green onions, green part only
1 small lemon
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 quart ice water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin

1. Trim fat from beef. Cutting against the grain, cut tenderloin in half.

2. Grate daikon; drain any excess liquid (but do not squeeze). Cut green onions into 1/8-inch slices. Cut lemon crosswise in half. Cut four 1/8-inch slices crosswise from one of the lemon halves. Squeeze juice from the remaining half and reserve.

3. Brush beef lightly on all sides with 1 teaspoon oil. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in medium skillet over high heat. Add beef; sauté just until brown---turning to brown all sides---about 2 minutes. Immediately transfer beef into ice water; let stand 2 minutes. Drain beef; pat dry with paper toweling. Cut into 1-inch cubes.

4. Mix soy sauce and mirin in a cup. Divide beef cubes among 4 individual serving bowls. Add lemon slice and grated daikon; top with green onion. Sprinkle with soy-sauce mixture and lemon juice. Pass additional soy sauce if desired.

We have also prepared this recipe in more of a sashimi style. To do so, we first marinated the tenderloin halves in a combination that included the lemon juice with the mirin and soy sauce mixture, to which we then added two teaspoons of grated ginger, one minced clove of garlic, and some of the green onion. After four hours we removed the beef, cut it into ¼ inch slices, then drizzled it with the marinade before garnishing the beef with the daikon and remaining half of the onion slices. Needless to say, this version must be served sashimi style on a plate rather than in a glass bowl as illustrated above.