Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yakiniku (焼肉) - Japanese Grilled Meat

Yakiniku is one of my favorite Japanese dishes; simply translated, it means "grilled meat". The raw ingredients (meat/seafood, vegetables, etc) are cooked on a griddle by the diners and enjoyed with a thickened soy sauce/mirin/sake dipping condiment known as "tare" (垂れ). 

Yakiniku differs from shabu-shabu and sukiyaki in that shabu shabu involves cooking everything in a broth, while sukiyaki involves simmering everything in a sauce, followed by a dip in raw egg. Yakiniku is simple yet incredibly delicious. 

Mom was gracious enough to let me photograph her recipe and process for yakiniku, which, at my request, she made for me for my birthday! This recipe is simply a guideline; feel free to make substitutions depending on what ingredients you like best. The only changes I have made to Mom's recipe is to increase some of the quantities in order to feed about 4 hungry people. 

Yakiniku (Mom's recipe)

1 lb large shrimp, (you can also use scallops)
2 lbs filet mignon or tenderloin, thinly sliced
16 oz whole mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 cabbage, trimmed and sliced
2 onions, halved and sliced
2 green bell peppers, sliced
Tare sauce
Steamed Japanese (short-grain) rice

Peel & devein the shrimp. Set aside. 

Slice the beef as thinly as possible, against the grain. It helps to freeze the meat for about 30 minutes to an hour beforehand to make slicing easier. Also, make sure that the knife that you use is SHARP. Set aside.

Prep your vegetables and place on a platter. 

We always make our yakiniku with a tabletop gas burner. Once all of your ingredients are prepped, simply top the gas burner with a large nonstick saute pan. Add a bit of olive oil, and heat the pan over a medium flame. Meanwhile, prepare bowls of rice, plates, and tare sauce for dipping. 

You can make your own tare sauce, but we've always used storebought. 

Add some vegetables to the hot pan, keeping like ingredients together; do not mix everything up like in a stir-fry. Add the shrimp or scallops, and some meat. Cook, adjusting the flame as needed, and turning the ingredients as needed. Add additional ingredients as the cooked items are removed from the pan and eaten.

As everything cooks, the diners simply help themselves to portions, transferring to a small plate and then dipping in tare sauce. Typical yakiniku sides include steamed rice and miso soup. 

If you have any leftovers, simply keep them, mixed together, in a container in the fridge. They can be reheated and eaten atop rice or ramen noodles! 


  1. Deni, it's SUPER easy and SO good! If you ever want to try it and need to borrow a tabletop stove, lemme know. I live pretty close to where you work.

    Or, you can always buy them pretty reasonably priced at any Asian market like Tokyo or Super Oriental on West Valley!

  2. Yakiniku is actually a Korean Japanese recipe. It was first cooked by the Korean Japanese in Osaka and later spread to the rest of Japan.