This simple dish is the perfect introduction to authentic Japanese cooking. Beef tataki or "bashed beef" is thin, carpaccio-style - but it doesn't need any brutal treatment. Thin slices of meltingly tender rare beef are served at room temperature and highlighted by a savoury soy-based sauce with a few sharp condiments. Match the dish with steamed rice, a few vegetables and a bowl of miso soup.
2 tbsp soy sauce (check gluten-free if required)
2 tbsp sake* (or substitute 1 tbsp vodka mixed with 1 tbsp water)
1 tbsp mirin* (or substitute 1/2 tsp sugar)
500g beef eye fillet
salt and pepper, to season
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp finely chopped chives, to serve
1/2 tsp finely grated ginger, to serve
1/2 tsp finely grated garlic, to serve
*sake and mirin are Japanese rice wines for cooking, available from Asian grocers and some supermarkets
1. Heat your oven to 200C. To make the tataki sauce, mix together the soy sauce, sake and mirin.
2. Trim the beef of any sinew and visible fat and season well with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof frypan over high heat and fry the beef in the vegetable oil on all sides until well browned. Add the tataki sauce and roll the beef through it to coat it.
3. Place the whole pan in the oven and cook for five minutes. Roll the beef through the sauce again, then remove to a tray and pour over any sauce remaining in the pan. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
4. Roll the beef through the sauce again, then slice it very thinly (just a few millimetres) and arrange on a plate. Drizzle over the remaining sauce and serve with small piles of the chopped chives and the grated ginger and garlic.