Beef with ponzu sauce

Nic Watt celebrates the match made in heaven of citrus-flavoured soy sauce with good-quality beef, a classic (and lean) Japanese combination cooked on searing hot rocks at the dining table
By Nic Watt
Beef with ponzu sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 1
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the beef

  • 1 cluster nameko mushroom, trimmed and separated, or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tbsp ponzu sauce
  • 100 g beef sirloin
  • 1 tsp grated fresh wasabi, or wasabi paste
  • 2.5 cm root ginger, cut into fine strips
  • 1 small handful coriander, picked
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 packets rock salt, to serve

For the dipping sauce

  • 5 tbsp ponzu sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • ΒΌ grapefruit, pulp only

Tips and Suggestions

This cooking technique is known as ishiyaki 'ishi' meaning rock and 'yaki' meaning grill.

Ponzu sauce, which if flavoured with kombu seaweed, bonito flakes and a mix of citrus fruits, is readily available in bottles from specialist Japanese stores.


1. For the beef: preheat the basalt rocks over a gas flame until they are searing hot this should take a good 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, heat the rocks in an oven set to its highest setting. Ideally the rocks will reach 280C.

2. Meanwhile, marinate the mushrooms in the ponzu sauce and cut the beef into 10 even, rectangular slices using a sharp knife (a sashimi knife is ideal, if you have one).

3. Smear each piece of beef with a little wasabi. Distribute the ginger slices, coriander and mushrooms neatly among them, then roll up into tiny bundles. Drizzle lightly with oil.

4. Arrange the beef on a presentation platter and set aside.

5. For the dipping sauce: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

6. Pile a generous quantity of rock salt on a heatproof serving dish and, when the rocks are very hot, sit them in the salt. Take the platter of meat and the dish of rocks to the table.

7. Using chopsticks, diners place the bundles of beef on the searing-hot rocks to cook them briefly, then dip the beef in the ponzu sauce and eat straight away.

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