Memoirs of a Wannabe

by Anna on September 26, 2010

in Meat,Seafood,Shelfish,World Food

Sooooo…. Challenge #2, what could be more outside of my comfort zone than Japanese? I have a fascination for all things Asia. I think we all should bow to each other, and be as graceful as they are. Their food tantalizes me. Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines; I could eat Thai food every single day and never get tired of it. But Japanese food would really be a big challenge for me. So now which version of my stories would you rather read?… The one that cooking Japanese food was a breeze and look how great I did or, the one that I pulled my hair and had super duper tantrum running from one side of the house to the other screaming: How many minutes I have? Like if I was in the middle of a quick fire challenge. And in the middle of all that, my sweet loving husband asked me if we could also make sushi? Lol. He may or may not be looking for his hair now, because the scream I unleashed at him, blew it right off his head.

Mango Cabbage Salad


  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 large head White cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1/2 large head red cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 mango cut into thinly matchsticks slices
  • 1 cucumber sliced with the Mandolin


Whisk together sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Toss the cabbage, green onions, Mango and sesame seeds in a large bowl with the dressing until well coated.

Tataki Seared Beef 
on a Bed of Onion and Daikon Salad

In this Japanese style of preparing beef, the steak is seared over high temperature leaving the inner part raw. Traditionally this is achieved by grilling the meat over high temperature and then dropping it into cold water to immediately kill the heat.

I don’t throw it directly into cold water but wrap the meat tightly in cling wrap before immersing it in ice water. This method keeps the flavor and the crust. After being thoroughly chilled in the refrigerator, the meat is then sliced and served over Onion Daikon Salad with either Soy Wasabi Dipping Sauce or Tataki Dipping Sauce (or both sauces if you like variety!). Both the meat and Onion Daikon Salad are dipped into the sauce of your choice. If you don’t care for the spicy heat of wasabi, try the mild Tataki Dipping Sauce.

* Preparation Time: 30 minutes, plus a few hours to chill after grilling
 Time: 3 to 5 minutes maximum for rare


  • 1-1/4 1bs (600 g) tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil

Onion Daikon Salad

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 2 small green onions (scallions) cut into slivers
  • 2 small daikon radishes (cut into very thin matchsticks)
  • 2 shiso leaves thinly sliced

Soy Wasabi Dipping Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce

Tataki Dipping Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of dashi stock granules dissolved in 4 tablespoons hot water or chicken stock


If the tenderloin is larger than 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, cut along the grain in half. This will result in two pieces about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) in length. Just before placing the meat on the grill rub it with the salt and oil and oil the hot grate. Place the meat over the high heat zone and grill for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until it just becomes browned.

To grill the edges you will have to hold it with tongs. The meat remains raw in the center and only the outer 1/16 to 1/8 inch (2 mm) is cooked. As soon as it is sufficiently browned on all sides, tightly wrap the meat in cling wrap and toss it into ice water. This will stop the cooking process without letting the meat come into contact with the water and dilute the taste.

When cold remove the meat from the ice water and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours to completely chill.

To make the Onion Daikon Salad, rub the onion slices with a little salt. Set aside for 20 minutes. Drain off any water that has accumulated from the onions. Mix the shiso leaves, or chopped mint and coriander leaves, green onions and daikon in a bowl, toss well and arrange on a plate.

5. To serve the Soy Wasabi Dipping Sauce, place a small ball (about 1/2 teaspoon) of the wasabi paste in a small serving bowl and pour 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce into the bowl. Place the wasabi paste off to the side of the bowl rather than in its center.

Do not mix the wasabi paste and soy sauce together. Instead let your guests mix them according to their preference. Repeat with three additional serving bowls.

6. To make the Tataki Dipping Sauce, combine the ingredients for the dip in a bowl and then transfer to 4 small serving bowls.

7. Cut the thoroughly chilled meat on the diagonal into thin slices and place across the top of the Onion Daikon Salad. Serve with the Soy Wasabi Dipping Sauce or Tataki Dipping Sauce.

The Asian Barbecue Book: by Alex Skaria



  • ½ Lb whole (unpeeled) shrimp.
  • Sea salt.
  • 1 Lemon cut to quarters. (For garnish)

For the Sauce


  • 4 tablespoons sake
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-tablespoon Mirin
  • 1-tablespoon sugar

In a small pan, mix all the ingredients for the yakitori sauce. Bring the mixture to boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce slightly reduced. Transfer to a small bowl.


Skewer the shrimp (from tail to head) Glaze with sauce. Grill each side until golden and drizzle with sea salt. Serve with lemon quarter.