Wednesday 3 August 2011

Hashi Cookery Course & Beef Tataki

Not so long ago I was invited to one of the Gourmet classes at Hashi Cookery School. I know little to nothing about Japanese food and yet it's one of my favourite cuisines, so I excitedly accepted. Arriving at Reiko's beautiful house in Wimbledon, the three of us students settled around a central island to watch the dishes we were to learn to prepare.

Firstly, beef tataki. Rare slices of fillet were beautifully arranged across the plate to be topped with sesame sauce and deep fried garlic chips. The chips were a revelation; sweet garlic in flavour without any harshness. We gobbled this up quick smart.

Chirashi-zushi was up next. Flakes of salted cooked salmon was mixed into the already prepared sushi rice, to be topped with slices of salmon sashimi and ikura, those big round salmon roe. A thin-as-paper omelette was julienned and mixed in with the rice, with steamed pieces of tenderstem broccoli for colour. I was delighted that after watching it prepared, we got a healthy portion to scoff too.

Meanwhile, Reiko prepared the Mizore Jiru - a cloudy soup, the cloud being formed from finely grated daikon. Given it took all of about 15 minutes, I was surprised it was so flavoursome. Dashi stock gave depth while floating pieces of fried tofu sheet were spongy and sweet.

Lastly, a fusion dish - monkfish with porcini mushrooms and ponzu soy butter. I have a serious addiction to ponzu and have, at times found myself slurping it off a teaspoon, so when coupled with butter it was no wonder I loved this too.

Reiko was a calm, patient and entertaining teacher; on the surface, £260 seems a lot of money, but once you consider it's a lesson a week for four weeks and you get to eat 4 courses of the food that's made, it seems quite a bargain. Visit the website here to book; she also does one-off classes from £55.

Of course, cookery lessons aren't much use unless you can put them to practise at home. I had a bash at the beef tataki at home. Thinly slicing the garlic with my poor knife skills was a bit of a fag, but otherwise it was simple and delicious. I'm just sad I don't have such beautiful plates to present them on.

Beef Tataki

Serves 4 as a starter

300gr beef fillet
1 medium onion (I used red) sliced thinly

For the garlic chips:

4 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced finely
A small saucepan

For the sesame sauce:

4 tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp water

Firstly, the garlic chips, Heat the oil in the saucepan and add the garlic slices - you want to fry them on a low heat, so that they slowly dehydrate and not cook quickly. They burn easily so watch them like a hawk. Once it begins to colour, after 5 or 6 mins, drain on kitchen paper. Don't cook them as far as golden as they carry on cooking after draining. Reserve the garlicky oil.

Rub the onion slices with plenty of salt and then soak in water for 10 - 15 minutes. This will get rid of the onion harshness.

Brush the beef fillet with the garlicky oil and sear in a hot dry non-stick frying pan until nicely browned all over. In a bowl, mi the mirin and soy together. Once the fillet is cooked to rare - medium rare, remove and add to the mirin soy mixture, turning occasionally. Set this aside for 30 mins.

Combine the tahini with the soy and mirin that the beef was resting in. Add the water, sugar and rice vinegar and then stir well. It may look like it's splitting, but carry on stirring and it'll come together. To serve, rinse the onion in a colander then squeeze the water out and make a little bed out of it. Slice the beef thinly and drape across the onion, then drizzle with the sauce. Top with a sprinkling of garlic chips.


A BRIT GREEK said...

All these photos of delicious looking dishes is seriously making me hungry!

Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Kavey said...

I was invited to a blogger class last year and my favourite dish was the beef tataki and not complicated at all!

I then booked another class with my sister and some friends, and we learned another set of dishes.

I love Reiko's teaching style and am happy to have an introduction to a cuisine I'd always been so nervous about trying to make myself.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog!!!!!

I now know where to come for culinary delights....

I was wondering if Lizzie could contact me at

Many thanks and keep up the ggod work

The Londoner said...

I'm so hungry now!
Great post x

Claire said...

I did one of Reiko's courses with my sister a couple of months. It does seem like quite a bit of money in one go but it was worth every penny. Reiko is an amazing teacher and you learn to make a load of dishes. I make all the recipes regularly - in fact I just finished somen noodle soup for my lunch!

Jo said...

I'm also doing a Japanese cooking course at the mo at Atsuko's Kitchen in Shoreditch. It's been great to learn the real basics as I alwasy wondered how they manage to make their food so flavoursome! Atsuko is wonderful - a real character and a great teacher. It was about £100 cheaper than your course and you get 5 lessons (basic course). Next week we get to make Gyoza...i can't wait!