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What is Teriyaki Beef?
Teriyaki (照り焼き) is a unique cooking method from Japan that involves seasoning fish or meat with a glaze made from a combination of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar.
It’s worth noting that teriyaki is not a sauce but a cooking method that produces a sweet and savory flavor with a glossy finish in Japanese cuisine. Although fish and chicken are common for making teriyaki dishes in Japan, this time, I will introduce a teriyaki recipe that uses beef with a twist.
How I Developed This Recipe
In Japan, teriyaki is typically associated with chicken and fish, not beef. Curious about this, I experimented and found that beef can indeed be delicious with teriyaki glaze.
To add a unique twist, I incorporated wasabi, a classic complement to beef, resulting in Wasabi-flavored Teriyaki Beef.
This recipe is truly unique and offers an exciting blend of flavors. It’s a must-try for those looking to explore new dimensions in teriyaki dishes!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Beef Steak: Any thick-cut steak, such as Spencer Roll, Sirloin, Chuck Eye Roll, or Rib Eye, works well. I used Chuck Eye Roll for this recipe.
- Wasabi Paste: For convenience, store-bought wasabi paste is sufficient. Grating fresh wasabi root is not necessary for this dish.
- Potato starch: Other starches, such as cornstarch or tapioca starch, can be used instead.
- Soy Sauce: Kikkoman is a global, reliable, and affordable brand. For more information on selecting soy sauce, refer to my comprehensive soy sauce guide.
- Sake: Unsalted drinking sake is preferred due to its pure flavor. If unavailable, cooking sake can be used, but remember to adjust the salt levels in your dish accordingly. A ‘Sake 101‘ article can provide more insights into different sake varieties and alternatives.
- Mirin: Hon Mirin, such as Hinode Hon Mirin, is ideal for authentic Japanese flavor. I recommend consulting my detailed mirin guide to understand the differences between hon mirin and other varieties.
- Sugar & Honey: Regular sugar and honey that you normally use is perfectly fine.
- Toppings: Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds for added flavor and texture.
- Cooked Japanese Short-Grain Rice: Short-grain Japanese rice is the best choice for donburi dishes. For recommendations on Japanese rice available in the U.S. and instructions on how to cook it in a pot, see the ‘How to Cook Japanese Rice Recipe.’
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Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Teriyaki Beef Don at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
Mix wasabi paste, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and honey in a bowl. Make sure it’s thoroughly combined. Preparing this in advance really helps to manage the steps after a lot better.
Perhaps you’re wondering why I use so much wasabi paste.
But wasabi is a volatile ingredient. So, when heated, the spiciness almost disappears, leaving only a slight aroma. If cooked for too long, even the aroma will disappear.
That’s why it’s important to cook everything as quick as possible in this recipe, for the sake of the beef and the wasabi.
If you want the unique spiciness of wasabi, you can add an additional fresh, unheated wasabi at the end as a topping.
Normally, the traditional Japanese teriyaki recipe consists of a combination of soy sauce, sake, and mirin in equal quantities, with half a portion of sugar added for those who prefer a sweeter taste. This time, I included honey in the sugar mixture to create a thicker teriyaki glaze, similar to why I used starch.
Take your steak meat, preferably about 2cm thick and cut it into large, bite-sized pieces. This size is perfect for getting a good sear while keeping the inside juicy and tender.
Once it’s cut, start heating your pan on a high setting.
While you wait, season the beef. Sprinkle salt and pepper over it to give it a nice flavor base.
Next, lightly coat each piece with potato starch.
Starch is used not only for the beef’s texture but also to make the teriyaki sauce that will be added afterward thicker. I’ve found a thicker glaze works better with beef.
Time to cook the beef.
Once your pan is nice and hot, add a drizzle of oil. Cook the beef pieces until they’re browned and sealed on one side.
Given that we’re using beef steaks instead of chicken or pork, it’s worth taking advantage of this characteristic and avoiding overcooking. We should aim for a slight redness in the center at the end, enhancing the meat’s taste and juiciness. Therefore, using the highest heat to brown the steaks quickly is recommended.
As soon as the beef is browned underneath, pour in the teriyaki mixture we made earlier and stir-fry everything together until the beef is coated and cooked to your liking.
Tip: If you prefer your beef well done, flip and seal on the other side before adding the sauce.
As soon as the sauce turns glossy and slightly thick, immediately turn off the heat. This step is crucial to avoid overcooking.
Arrange the cooked rice and cabbage in serving bowls.
Place the teriyaki beef on top, pouring over any extra sauce that might remain in the pan.
Garnish with chopped green onions and white sesame seeds for a burst of color and extra flavor.
If you want to really appreciate the spiciness of wasabi, you can add extra fresh wasabi paste here!
Enjoy!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
I hope you enjoy this Teriyaki Beef Rice Bowl recipe! If you try it out, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a moment to let me know what you thought by giving a review and star rating in the comments below. It’s also helpful to share any adjustments you made to the recipe with our other readers. Thank you!
More Delicious Teriyaki Recipes
Wasabi Teriyaki Beef Bowl
- Take a small bowl and add 1 tbsp wasabi paste, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp sake, 2 tbsp mirin, 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp honey. Mix until well combined and set it by the stove ready for later.
- Cut 450 g beef steak into bitesize pieces and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 pinch salt and pepper and mix until evenly distributed. Start heating a frying pan on high.
- Add ½ tbsp potato starch to the beef and mix until lightly coated all over.
- Once the pan is hot, add ½ tbsp cooking oil and swirl around before adding the beef and searing on one side.
- Once browned underneath, add the sauce and stir-fry everything together until slightly thickened and glossy. As soon as it reaches that point, turn off the heat. (Tip: If you prefer beef well done, seal on the other side before you add the sauce.)
- Divide 2 portions cooked Japanese short-grain rice and 50 g shredded cabbage into serving bowls.
- Add the beef, including any leftover sauce from the pan. Garnish with finely chopped green onion(s) and sesame seeds. Add more wasabi for a fiery kick if desired.