For the second of my courses at Leiths, I learned an invaluable life skill – how to make the perfect steak.
I’ve always loved steak – ever since I was a little girl. When I would go back to Japan in the summers, my grandfather would always prepare a steak to which I would compare all other steaks to for the rest of my life – Kobe beef with the most delicious sauce. I used to get homesick for that sauce, but he always kept the recipe close, and when he passed away I thought that the recipe was lost forever.
I’ve been cooking steaks more since my course, where I picked up some great tips and knife skills – I can now confidently say that I can whip up a pretty damn good steak. I now know the perfect amount of time to fry my steaks for (a minute and a half each side for medium rare), the right oil (one with a high smoke point, like sunflower, never olive oil) and how to cut an onion like an absolute pro.
The men outnumbered the women in the class – mostly those who’d been given the class as a gift for Christmas. The class was a lot of fun – we practiced our new techniques on a few steaks, and tried our hand at making a few different sauces, including peppercorn, bearnaise and chimichurri. For a dish with relatively few ingredients, there are quite a few moving parts (like how to know when the oil is hot enough!) and my steak cooking skills have most definitely improved as a result. We also got to try different types of steak – fillet, rump, sirloin (my personal favourite!), rib eye, bavette, kangaroo, venison and buffalo. It was a serious contender for the happiest afternoon I’ve ever had.
With all my experimenting, I think I’ve cracked the family sauce, too – so here’s my recipe for the perfect Japanese wafu steak.
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 3 tablespoons of soy or tamari sauce
- 4 tablespoons of sake
- 2 tablespoons of mirin
- Drain off the excess fat from the frying pan used for the steaks, and discard.
- Heat the sesame oil in the pan on a medium heat, gently scraping the bottom of the pan.
- Add the slivers of sliced garlic to the pan, and once browned, take them off of the heat.
- Place the garlic pieces on some kitchen paper, and add the sake and mirin.
- Stir constantly until the alcohol in the sake has been cooked off, before adding the soy sauce.
- Once the soy sauce has been added, turn off the heat but keep the pan on the hob and stir.
- Sprinkle the garlic pieces over the meat, and ladle the sauce over.
- Serve the steak cubed, with a side of sesame seed coated spinach, plain rice and miso soup.