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Japanese Beef Tataki

By Pete Evans From Moveable Feast Season 1, Ep.6
Courtesy of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking

Servings: 10 to 12 as a first course

Tataki means “pounded” in Japanese, but the process of preparing this thin-sliced meat is actually subtle. Beef is first seared, then marinated, then seasoned with spices or other ingredients that have been ground (or “pounded,” if you will). Here, two sauces make the beef full-flavored and tender.


For the beef and garlic chips

  • 1-1/4 lb. trimmed center-cut beef tenderloin
  • Olive oil for frying garlic and for the beef
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise

For the onion ponzu

  • 1/2 cup minced white onion
  • 3 Tbs. grapeseed oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. minced garlic

For the tataki dressing

  • 5 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • Pinch of bonito flakes (optional)

For the garnish

  • 3 whole scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 Tbs. thinly sliced chives


Sear the beef

  • Heat a griddle over high heat, or preheat a gas grill to high. Lightly brush the beef with oil and season with salt and pepper. Prepare an ice bath.
  • Sear the beef on the griddle or grill on all sides until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Plunge into the ice bath and allow to cool,  3 to 4 minutes. Remove the filet and drain well on paper towels, patting the meat dry.
  • In a 2-quart saucepan, heat 3/4 inch of oil over medium–high heat until shimmering hot. Add the garlic and fry until golden and crispy, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towel.

Make the onion ponzu

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the onion, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic until combined.

Make the tataki dressing

  • In another small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, and bonito flakes, if using.
  • With a sharp carving knife, thinly slice the beef and arrange on 10 to 12 dinner plates. Spoon some of the onion ponzu on top of the beef, then drizzle on some tataki dressing, and top with the garlic chips, scallions, and chives.


Recipe adapted from Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.

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  • Austin_Allie | 08/20/2016

    One of the absolute best recipes I've ever made. I was worried that my niece and nephew would refuse to eat the rare beef, but they couldn't get enough of it. Extremely flavorful and a visual work of art. You'll need a very sharp knife to achieve this thin cut of beef.

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