Tim Anderson’s Beef Tataki

The American chef and previous champion of ‘Masterchef UK’ shares this recipe from his cookbook ‘JapanEasy’.


WordsClémence Leleu

‘JapanEasy’, Tim Anderson © Synchronique Éditions

Tataki is a Japanese cooking technique whereby the meat or fish is simply seared. This half-cooked process allows the meat or fish to keep its flavour while the flesh, raw in the middle, remains soft. Once seared, all that remains is to briefly marinate the meat or fish before eating. 

‘This recipe works well with tuna, swordfish, salmon, or any other kind of delicious, meaty fish you can get your hands on’, chef Tim Anderson explains in his book JapanEasy, in which he shares simple recipes made from ingredients that can be found in western supermarkets. 

Tim Anderson is an American chef who won the 2011 series of MasterChef UK. Having graduated in 2006 from Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he studied the history of Japanese cuisine, he then lived in Japan for two years, in Fukuoka. He now lives in London, where he runs two Japanese restaurants: Nanban Brixton and Nanban Central.

Serves 2-4

Difficulty: very simple


60 ml sake

15 g caster or granulated sugar 

60 ml soy sauce 

2 tablespoons oil 

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 

300-350 g steak, cut about 2.5 cm thick – lean cuts free of sinew work best, so go for fillet, bavette, or rump

1/4 bunch chives, finely sliced

1 pinch toasted sesame seeds

1 handful peppery salad leaves, like rocket or watercress

1 shallot, finely sliced and soaked in cold water


Combine the sake and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the soy sauce. Leave to cool.

Put the oil in a sturdy frying pan (skillet) and add the garlic. Turn the heat to medium and let the garlic slowly brown. Remove the garlic when it’s golden, and drain on kitchen paper. Crank the heat up on the pan – it should be surface-of-the-sun hot. (It needs to be extremely hot to ensure the steak achieves a nice colour on the outside while remaining raw, or at least rare, in the middle.)

While the pan is coming up to temperature, dry the surface of your steak thoroughly with kitchen paper. Carefully lay your steak in the pan and let it develop a very rich, deep, dark-brown colour. Turn the steak and let the other side colour as well. Remove from the pan and immediately transfer to the freezer.

Let the meat firm up in the freezer for about 20 minutes, then remove and slice it very thinly. Pour over the sake and soy sauce mixture, and garnish with the fried garlic, chives, and sesame seeds. Top with a handful of leaves and the drained shallots.


JapanEasy (2017), by Tim Anderson is published by Hardie Grant.