Raw fish in the form of sashimi is quite often the first thing a foreigner thinks of when you mention Japanese food, but perhaps less well known is gyuu tataki, a lightly cooked piece of beef fillet that while seared on the outside remains completely raw in the centre. We’ve paired our beef with a couple of citrussy accompaniments, firstly a home-made take on yuzukosho (we’ve used the word ‘modoki’ in the title, which means pseudo or mock) and then with a ponzu style dipping sauce made of lime juice and soy sauce.
Yuzukosho is a fantastically strong, fiery condiment used mainly with hotpot dishes and sashimi, made from fermented citrus fruit and green chilli peppers. Yuzu- the traditional fruit used in the seasoning- is unfortunately for us very hard to come by in England, so we have combined a number of different fruits to craft a flavour reminiscent of the complex aroma the original has. This zesty paste brings together sour, bitter, floral, salty and spicy flavours which all balance the beef’s natural earthiness and when used as an appetiser at the start of a meal really awakens your palate.
Yuzukosho modoki ingredients.
- 1 pink grapefruit
- 2 oranges
- 4 limes
- 8 lemons
- 2 green chillies
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon yuzu juice (or substitute with lemon or lime juice)
- Wash all your citrus fruit, if they have been waxed then first pour boiling water over them to remove the coating. Dry the fruits well and then carefully zest them with a grater, making sure you don’t get any white pith in with the zest. We have a copper and tin oroshigane grater which makes short work of tasks like this, but it still takes a while to zest fifteen fruits!
- Remove the stalks from the green chillies but leave the seeds in, then finely chop. In a bowl mix your zests, chillies, sugar, salt and juice, and when fully combined transfer them to a sterilised, sealable jar.
- Store your yuzukosho for at least two weeks in the refrigerator before using to allow the flavours to develop and to give the paste time to ferment.
Gyuu Tataki ingredients.
- 400g piece of beef fillet
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- handful of watercress leaves
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 heaped teaspoon yuzukosho
- Place a non-stick pan on a high heat for a minute until it is extremely hot, then sear your beef on all sides. Don’t linger too long as you don’t want to cook the edges too much, just develop a light crust all over. This shouldn’t take much more than two or three minutes in total. Take your beef out of the pan, put it on a plate and leave to cool completely, then refrigerate it for an hour to firm up prior to slicing.
- While the beef is chilling, mix the lime juice and soy sauce together and pour into serving dishes. Toast your sesame seeds in a pan until golden and set aside.
- Take the beef out of the fridge and, using your sharpest knife, slice as thinly as you can without damaging the pieces. Allow the beef to come to room temperature before you assemble the finished dish.
- Arrange the watercress on a plate, top with the beef slices, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and scatter little dabs of yuzukosho across the surface. Serve with the ponzu style dipping sauce.
If you don’t want to eat the beef this rare, the accompaniments and flavours work just as well with steak, whether medium or well done. They can also be used to liven up cold roast beef or even used as toppings for a beef burger.
Serves 4 as an appetiser.