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Recipe: Japanese Steak and Vegetables

We do love the teppanyaki style of cooking. You know, the comedian/chef cooks in front of you on a large grill, flipping around shrimp tails and building onion ring volcanos. Good food, sure, but who really wants to sit at a table with a bunch of rednecks who will just stare at you all night. This is haute cuisine to them, and yer the fanciest people they ever did see. Meh. Why not just cook it yourself at home? Ingredients Needed: (if you're feeding four) For the meat: 8 small sirloin tip steaks sesame oil kosher salt fresh cracked pepper garlic powder sesame seeds For the veggies: 2 medium zucchinis 1 large onion 4 large portobello caps butter soy sauce For the shrimp sauce: 3 cups mayonnaise 1 cup ketchup 1 cup water soy sauce mirin (sweet cooking sake) seasoned rice wine vinegar white pepper garlic powder A quantity of short-grain rice. Instructions: The food is simple, as is the prep, but doing things in the right order is key. First off, acquire some short-grain rice (the kind used for sushi), and cook it up your favorite way. (I'm fond of my rice cooker, personally...yes, AB, it's a unitasker, but one we use every three days, so there.) I do not rinse the rice before cooking (to remove the excess starch) because we like it sticky, and able to be picked up with chopsticks. While the rice is cooking, make up the shrimp sauce then stash it in the fridge until everything is done: Combine all the ingredients in a tupperware container. Please note, I do not put specific amounts on anything other than the mayo, ketchup or water. You can absolutely vary this sauce to your personal taste without throwing off some magical formula. I usually go heavier on the mirin and vinegar, lighter on the soy sauce. The ultimate goal is to have a tangy sauce with a little sweet hit (from the mirin). Even the water amount can be varied. I like it thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but just add more water, mirin, vinegar and spices if you want it thinner. And if you accidentally make it too thin? Just shovel in some more mayo and ketchup then adjust spices from there. Cover and refrigerate. Chop up the onions, zucchini and mushrooms in rough chunks and set aside. Start a heavy skillet on high heat. Dash some sesame oil around in the pan, enough to prevent sticking. Sprinkle in pepper, salt, garlic powder and sesame seeds. Leave this untouched in the pan until the garlic powder and sesame seeds start to turn toasty brown and smell wonderful. Then plop four of the steaklets down on top of this. (You don't want to cook more than four at once as overloading the pan drastically reduces the heat, delaying cooking time and turning your lovely meat into unfashionable gray shoe leather.) Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and sesame seeds on top in preparation for flipping. Allow to cook for several minutes, you want the nice brown yummy bits on the steak, then flip. Add a bit more sesame oil if things start to char in the bottom of the pan. I typically let them go through several three or four minute rotations. The object is to take them up when rare, as carryover cooking will take them on up to medium rare on the plate. Repeat with however many steaklets you have left. In the pan you just used to cook the steaks (yes, with all that leftover oil, sesame seeds, and beautiful brown bits), add a couple of tablespoons of butter, and all the veggies. Throw a few dashes of soy sauce in there as you stir things around. Stir fry until the onions are semi-translucent (you still want them to have a little bite). Add more butter during the stir fry process if things start to dry out. DO NOT SALT. Between the salt in the soy sauce and what's left over in the pan, you won't need it. Serve everything immediately with shrimp sauce on the side. Or if you're like the Husband and Scion #1, pour shrimp sauce over top of everything and go to town. There's no reason you can't do up some shrimp to go with your steaklets...I'd cook them in the same pan ala the veggies for some wonderful flavor, just remember those little bastards cook fast. I would have taken a picture of this for you after peparing it tonight, but after having to smell it all during cooking time, I was far more interested in snarfing it, kthxbye. I'll take a picture tomorrow of the leftovers when I have them for lunch, promise!