Beef yakitori snacks

  
I had a couple of people round for a catch up (over drinks of course).

I was trying to think of something quick and I easy I could feed them between martini drinking when I came across some beef mince on special offer at the supermarket.

I bought a kilogram and decided to make yakitori, a type of Japanese skewer kebab, inspired by izakaya/yakitori-bar type food.

I made the following recipe:

  

  • Soak several bamboo skewers in water overnight.
  • Peel and finely chop a thumb-sized piece of ginger and add it to a large bowl.
  • Finely chop 8 spring onions and add them to the bowl.
  • I added a splodge of garlic paste.
  • I then added 4 eggs and stirred them lightly with a fork to break them up.
  • I then added a tablespoon of plain flour and a teaspoon of cornflour.
  • Next, I tipped in the mince and mixed it all up with my hands.  This is both a hugely satisfying task but also horrifically messy.  Thoroughly wash your hands both before and after.

  

  • I made the mince mixture into little balls, around 3.5cm in diameter.

  

  • I then threaded them onto the bamboo skewers. I put three on each but this will depend on the size of your skewers.

  

I then mixed a glaze:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp mirin
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp vinegar from the pickled ginger jar (balsamic or even ordinary vinegar would be fine as well I’m sure)
  • A dash or Worcestershire sauce
  • Stir in the ingredients in a bowl then microwave for 20 seconds.
  • I then put the grill on 200 degrees C and threw in the yakitori for about 8 minutes.

  

  • Remove the yakitori from the grill.
  • Use a pastry brush to coat the top layer with the glaze.
  • Gently turn the yakitori over so that the less-cooked side is facing upwards.
  • Coat the newly exposed sides and put back into the oven for about 8 more minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

I served them immediately with a simple dipping sauce (2 parts soy sauce 1 part rice vinegar).

You can sprinkle over some more chopped spring onions if you can be bothered. It adds a nice contrasting colour.

Otherwise best consumed when tipsy. It would go particularly nicely with a Pickled Ginger Martini.

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    A Spicy Umami Michelada

    A London variation on the classic Mexican drink.

      

    As I’ve said before, I don’t always drink martinis. I also like beer and lager, to name but a few alternatives. I recently wrote about the Mexican drink Micheladas and here I’ve come up with another variation.

    In its most simple terms, a Michelada contains beer/lager, the juice of a lime, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a salt rim around the glass. Hot sauce, soy sauce and tequila are also frequently added.

    I recently bought one or two Laura Santtini ingredients and thought they would make a good addition for this variation on the recipe. You will need:

      

    • A lime
    • A beer
    • Salt (preferably a good quality sea salt)
    • Worcestershire sauce
    • Soy sauce
    • Tabasco sauce

    And the following enhancements:

    • Taste 5 Umami paste
    • Taste 5 Umami Rush condiment

    I often rub the umami paste into meat, fish and vegetables before cooking them. However, if you don’t have any to hand, use tomato purée as a substitute and add a little more soy sauce.

    The condiment is like a salty umami-citrus pepper. You can use normal salt instead but the condiment adds a zesty, umami buzz to the drink.

    • Run a tall glass under a tap and leave it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes (but preferably several hours)
    • Sprinkle salt and the Umami Rush condiment on a plate
    • Remove the glass from the freezer, cut the lime and rub half of it around the rim of the glass

      

    • Rim the glass in the salt and Umami Rush mixture to create a reddish crust
    • Juice the lime and add it to a jug
    • Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of soy sauce.
    • Add a few drops of Tabasco sauce (to taste)
    • Add a smudge of Taste 5 Umami paste
    • Add some of the beer and stir the mixture
    • Pour the mixture into the rimmed glass then top up with more beer
    • Add ice and stir gently before serving. Try not to get the salt rim wet during this process.
    • Instead of ice I use lime segments that I store in the freezer (these are good for gin and tonics as well)

    It’s perfect for a hot day. It’s also good for a… err… hangover.

    Soooo… ¡Salud!

      

    The Laura Santtini Umami Martini

    Laura Santtini is a London-based chef with a recipe book that changed the way I looked at food. She describes herself as the genetic equivalent of a Molotov cocktail: half Italian, quarter Persian, pinch of Sephardic and then an English-Irish mix. Her recipe book is full of things you can prepare in a matter of minutes (ie before your friends get to your home via the tube after work) yet you can present them with a simplistic yet explosive flair that says “oh it’s just something I threw together before you got here” but looks and tastes like restaurant quality cuisine.

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    Laura Santtini’s book “Flash Cooking” gave me the confidence to entertain guests at home. Which has had a profound impact on this blog, because it means I can give people martinis, then serve them dinner when they are no longer able to use their legs to walk to a restaurant. Well done Laura, and thank you.

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    Ms. Santtini has also produced a very fine condiment: Taste 5 Umami Paste. I usually rub it on food items to marinade them, although one of my friends likes to just eat the stuff for the flavour itself. Praise indeed.

    Having previously added Worcestershire Sauce to a martini for a taste of salty umami I thought I might try the same with the Taste 5 Umami paste, not least as an experiment that my aforementioned friend might like. I took a pea-sized globule of the paste and muddled it into a measure of vermouth, then topped it up with gin and stirred.

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    I didn’t use a garnish this time round but I could suggest the following as good pairings for the umami flavour:

    A twist of lemon
    An olive stuffed with garlic
    An olive stuffed with anchovy (for double, nay triple umami)
    A sprig of Rosemary
    Watercress
    A slice of cucumber

    Disclaimer: the following photograph contains no martini.

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    Be sure to rub the sauce on some meat or fish to marinade before you fry it.

    Worcestershire Sauce Martini

    Yes you read that correctly.

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    This is another slight variation on a classic martini. Just before you pour the martini, smudge a small amount of Worcestershire sauce into the glass.

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    It adds a slightly savoury tinge to the drink which works quite well, especially if you’re looking to whet the appetite for a meal. Below is a suggestion:

    Marinade a good steak at room temperature in Worcestershire sauce for several hours. Drink the martini just before you cook it as a complimentary aperitif. I owe thanks to a certain Beirut resident for the instructions.

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    Alternatively, cook the steak before pouring the martini, slice it thinly then serve it as an accompaniment. I made a honey and mustard yoghurt sauce (mix 1 tablespoon of yoghurt, 1 teaspoon of Wholegain mustard, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of runny honey and a splash of white wine vinegar) to go with this one and sprinkled over some black sesame seeds.