Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beef Negimaki - Cooked by Jon

We don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day other than exchanging cards...the goofiest and sappiest ones we can find. But since we normally stay in and cook on Saturday nights anyway, we decided to do something special. Correction, Jon decided to do something special - he was in the mood to cook and up for a challenge!

We were brainstorming when I remembered a dish that Jon loves to order in Japanese restaurants, Beef Negimaki, a beef and green onion dish that looks like sushi rolls. There aren't too many recipes out there, so I chose this one from the Epicurious web site for Japanese Beef and Scallion Rolls.


  • 12 small scallions, trimmed to 6 inch lengths
  • 1 lb piece of flank steak
  • 1/4 c sake
  • 1/4 c mirin
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Equipment: meat pounder; kitchen string


Jon followed the recipe, but did make a few modifications for how the meat was to be cut/layered/rolled. His way worked perfectly, and we both think it was easier than the directions in the original recipe. Below is how he did it.

  • Prepare scallions: Blanch scallions in a pot of boiling salted water for 45 seconds, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Transfer scallions to a paper towel to drain and pat dry.
  • Prepare beef: Jon cut the flank steak into three thinner pieces, like this:

  • Then he pounded each piece to 1/6 inch thick - pound the beef between pieces of oiled plastic wrap.

  • Once pounded, he cut each piece across the grain into two pieces, so we now had a total of six 4-6 inch square pieces (we used 4 of them).
  • Place 3 scallions on the end of one piece of beef, and roll with the grain. Secure with kitchen twine.

  • Once all pieces of steak have been rolled, put them in the fridge while you make the marinade. The steak can be rolled up to 4 hours in advance.
  • Make the marinade: Stir together sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar.
  • Marinate the beef in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  • Heat a heavy skillet over high heat until hot, 1-2 minutes. Add oil, swirling to coat the bottom.
  • Lift rolls from the marinade, let excess drip off, and pat dry (Jon didn't pat them dry - he wanted the marinade left on the beef to caramelize), reserving the marinade.
  • Add rolls to the pan and cook, turning with tongs, until all sides are browned, about 5-6 min for medium rare. He then transferred the pan to a 375 oven for another 6 min or so, but this isn't necessary if you like your beef medium rare. Remove pan from oven and transfer rolls to a cutting board.

  • Place pan the beef cooked in over medium heat on the stove. Add marinade and bring to a boil until slightly syrupy, about 2 minutes.
  • Cut off strings and slice rolls crosswise into sushi-sized rolls. Serve with the sauce.

OH. MY. GOD. I expected these beef rolls to be good and was excited to eat them. But I wasn't prepared for just HOW good they were!! I swear they were better than the beef negimaki Jon has ordered in restaurants. The rolls stayed together perfectly and took on the flavor of the scallions, and the sauce was perfectly sweet and syrupy. I don't know how many times during dinner I said "mmmm, good job Jon!!"

Jon said that he will make them again, but has a few notes:

- He will definitely follow his instructions for cutting, not the instructions in the original recipe.

- He would have tied the rolls in three spots each, instead of just near each end, to keep the middle together a bit better (but still, none of them fell apart with only 2 ties.

- He would have cooked them a bit longer in the pan to allow them to brown more and for the marinade left on the meat to caramelize a bit more.

- He also doesn't think he would blanch the scallions as they were a touch soggy for his taste - he prefers them to be firmer and thinks cooking inside the meat would have given them just the right amount of softness and mellowness.

Sides: white rice, roasted veggies (broccoli, red/green/orange pepper, yellow onion, tossed with olive oil and salt and roasted in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes).

Even with the cutting and pounding, this recipe didn't take that much time. The hardest part was figuring out the best way to cut the meat, but now that he has done it successfully one time, it will be much easier next time (there will be a next time!).

I hope everyone had a delicious Valentine's Day - we certainly did!!

Print this post


  1. Those look so awesome! My husband also did the cooking on valentine's day-aren't we lucky? As much as I love to cook, I love to be cooked for more! ;)

  2. Those look good!!!!! I will have to try these!

  3. Excellent - another meals on wheels classic -- this time by my son-in-law M E you have competition.... Dad

  4. These look really good. Almost like little meat rolled sushi.

  5. These look so amazing! I have definitely added this recipe to my list.

  6. Found your blog when searching for a coq au vin recipe...but ended up on this. Looks amazing!

  7. My picky eater 18 year old son loves eating Japanese food out. He was so excited when I told him we could make this at home, he found your recipe and we had a blast making them (the vegetarian mom) He and Dad raved about them over and over during the meal. We're going to make them campside for our gourmet friends this week in Acadia. Thanks

  8. Hi Eileen - I'm glad your husband and son loved them! My husband made these on the grill a few weeks ago and they turned out great. I'm sure your friends will be impressed! Have fun.

  9. I made these last night as part of my "Amazing Race" blog series! Thanks!

  10. Hi Eileen, just happened across your blog in my search for a beef negi maki recipe -as it is my husband John's favorite dish that he orders out as well. I have seen this dish garnished with orange slices and am wondering if there might not be a good way to incorporate some orange flavor into the marinade/sauce - perhaps some juice or zest??
    Thanks, Carolina

  11. Hi Carolina, I think some orange zest mixed in with the liquids would be a nice touch! Let me know if you make it this way.

  12. Hi Eileen, I tried the recipe and added some orange juice and zest to the marinade - gave a nice complementary, bright extra layer of flavor. I kept the scallions raw - I sliced them in half lengthwise first. I used pan/minute/chipped steak as that was what the grocer had - conveniently making individual rolls, however, not the right cut of meat - will try again when I find flank steak. Thanks, Carolina


  14. Made this tonight and loved it! Didn't use sake and tried a couple brushed with teriyaki sauce. Both were good, but I prefer the mirin based sauce. Thank you for posting this recipe with pictures and tecniques. We really appreciate it!

  15. this looks absolutely amazing! I have had this many times at different places but if you ever get the chance and are in Connecticut, there is a place in Fairfield CT called "Fin" which is so fresh and delicious. Favorite sushi place ever! Visit livelymag[dot]com

  16. This is one of my favorites. Can't wait to try it! It doesn't sound as complicated as I thought it would! Looks delicious. :)