We are making a unique steak exclusively known in Japan, Chaliapin Steak. The dish uses lots of onion and was originally devised to make the meat extra tender and delicious. The thoroughly sauted onion goes great with this steak.
Cover the sirloin or rump steak with plastic wrap. And pound the meat with a rolling pin until the thickness reaches about 8mm (0.3”).
Remove the plastic wrap and gently pound it with a meat tenderizer or the back of a knife. If the meat is tough, pound it a little strong using the coarse face of the head. Flip it over. Repeat the process on the other side of the meat. Alternatively, you can use beef round or tenderloin.
Make numerous cuts along the steak, making a 5mm (0.2”) grid pattern. Flip it over. And make a grid pattern again but be careful not to separate the steak.
Distribute half the grated onion onto a tray. And place the meat onto it. Cover the top with the rest of the onion. The enzymes in the onion will break down the proteins, making the meat extra tender.
Cover the tray with plastic wrap and let it sit in a relatively cool place for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Placing it in the refrigerator will make the enzymes work slower so it will need to sit longer. In this case, remove the meat at lease 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature.
Let’s saute the onion. Drop in the butter and coat the pan with it. Then, add the chopped onion. Saute on hight heat.
When the onion begins to slightly brown, reduce the heat to low. Then, season it with salt and pepper. Continue sauteing until browned as shown. Remove and save the onion on a tray.
Let’s cook the steak. Scrape off the grated onion from both sides. The enzymes will not work when cooked so make sure to use raw onion. Then, lightly remove the excess liquid with a paper towel. Season the top side with salt and pepper.
Turn on the burner. Add the olive oil to a pan. Place the steak into the heated pan with the seasoned side facing down. Then, sprinkle on salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat.
This steak is relatively thin so flip it over when the other side is golden brown. Shake the pan or gently press the meat with tongs to help it brown evenly.
Now, both sides are deliciously browned. Remove and place the steak onto a plate.
Place the sauteed onion into the pan. Reheat the pan and coat the onion with the remaining beef juice. Finally, drop 1 teaspoon of soy sauce directly on the pan and toss to coat, bringing out the savory aroma.
Remove and place the onion onto the steak. And distribute the onion. Then, make a grid pattern on top. Finally, sprinkle on the parsley leaves.
This dish was devised by the chef at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo in 1936 when a Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin requested an extra tender steak.
Adding the right amount of salt is very important since it will not only season the meat but also bring out the savory flavor.
You can also use lettuce leaves, baby salad greens, boiled carrot, asparagus, string bean pods or snap bean pods as side vegetable.
Let’s prepare the vegetables. Use the outer layers of the onion to make the dish more presentable. Slice the onion into 1.5cm (0.6") slices and then cut them in half again.
Cut the eringi mushroom or king oyster mushroom in half. Cut it lengthwise and then slice into 5mm (0.2") slices. Cut the lettuce leaves in half lengthwise and then chop them into 1.5cm (0.6") strips.
And now, let’s stir-fry the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Drop in the onion and eringi mushroom and toss to coat with the oil. Sprinkle on the salt and brown the vegetables. Finally, sprinkle on the pepper, turn off the burner and place the vegetables onto a plate.
Remove the steak from the fridge 1 hour before you start cooking. On one side of the steak, sprinkle the salt and the pepper.
Turn on the burner and heat the vegetable oil on medium heat. Place the steak onto the pan with the seasoned side facing down. Occasionally shake the pan to help it brown evenly.
With a pair of tongs, check the under side of the steak. When it has browned thoroughly, flip the steak over.
Once both sides are browned, turn off the burner and place it onto a plate with the tongs. Cover it with aluminum foil while preparing the next step. This will help keep the steak warm and contain the savory juices while preparing the next step.
Let’s make the delicious onion ponzu sauce. Remove the remaining oil in the pan with a paper towel. Add the sake and allow the alcohol to evaporate.
Turn on the burner and add the grated onion. Stir with a spatula and cook the onion until the pungent aroma softens.
Add the citrus-based ponzu sauce, grated garlic and butter. Continue stirring with the spatula and bring the sauce to a boil. When the butter is completely melted, the sauce is ready. Pour it into a sauce boat.
Let’s make the beef steak donburi. Place the chopped lettuce onto a bowl of hot steamed rice. Next, place the onion and mushroom along the edge of the bowl.
Remove the aluminum foil from the plate and place the steak onto a cutting board. Slice the beef using diagonal cuts.
Line up the beef slices on the lettuce, presenting the pink cut surface. Finally, garnish with the watercress on top.
Just before serving, pour a generous amount of the onion ponzu sauce onto the beef, onion and mushroom. Wasabi also goes great with this recipe so try it out if you are feeling a little adventurous.
Cook the steak medium so that the beef is tender and the pink cuts are visually appealing.