Beef Tataki with Sesame Sauce

For an elegant Japanese meal try Reiko Haishi-Lambert's recipe for seared beef served with a zingy watercress salad
By Paul Rankin
Beef Tataki with Sesame Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 30 mins resting
  • Effort: easy



  • 400g piece of beef tenderloin, (a long bit, rather than a fat bit)
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • one bunch of watercress, either Japanese mizuna or French cressent

For the garlic chips:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3-4 clove garlic, thinly sliced

For the sesame sauce:

  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp light Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sugar

For the Japanese dressing:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar, or Mirin
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds


1. First make the garlic chips. Heat the vegetable oil in a small frying pan, add in the garlic and fry gently over a low heat.

2. Once the garlic begins to colour, remove them and drain on kitchen paper.

3. Heat a heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Brush the beef with the vegetable oil and cook in the very hot pan until browned all over; if the beef is too thick, cut the beef lengthways to a thinner chunk. This will only take about 5 minutes.

4. Remove the beef from the pan and quickly dip into the soy sauce and mirin which will be used for the sesame sauce.

5. Set the beef aside for at least 30 minutes, so that the beef becomes the right temperature and easier to slice and is not dry.

6. To make the sesame sauce, mix together the tahini paste, water, soy sauce, mirin and sugar in a bowl.

7. Make the Japanese dressing by mixing together the vegetable oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and sesame seeds.

8. Cut the beef into thin slices (less than 1cm thick) and arrange the beef on the plate. Toss the watercress with the Japanese dressing and arrange with the beef. Sprinkle with the garlic chips and serve with the sesame sauce.

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