How to Make Authentic Japanese Beef Negimaki

If you like the idea of sushi and how it wraps seafood in rice or veggies but are averse to the idea of raw seafood, then beef negamaki might interest you. I came across this as an alternative to sushi and raw seafood. I am not big on seafood, so this “beef sushi” dish, as it is sometimes known, is a great substitute.

It hits a lot of the same notes as sushi, but is savory, flavorful, and best of all meaty. I want to share with you a Japanese beef negimaki recipe that is near and dear to my heart. It helps me to fit in with my sushi loving friends when we are making Japanese food at home or ordering at a Japanese restaurant.

The tricky part of this recipe is getting everything to form into the right shape and look presentable. The flavor is easy to pull off, though, so I have no qualms about recommending this to inexperienced cooks.

You may not want to make it for guests on your first try, but you will definitely be glad you gave this dish a try once you take a bite. The flavor is really sensational, so you should attempt this negimaki beef recipe if you are at all interested in making your own Japanese beef dish at home that has a unique look and taste to it.

Beef Negimaki Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of flank steak
  • 12 scallions, small
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • ¼ cup of rice vinegar (or mirin)
  • ¼ cup of sake
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Prepare the scallions by cutting them into 6-inch strips.
  2. Boil two quarts of water in a medium sized pot, cooking on medium heat. Once the water starts to boil, add in ½ a cup of salt and your scallions. You are just blanching the scallions, so only leave them in the boiling water for 45 seconds and then place them in a bowl of ice water. Once they have cooled completely, you can take them out of the water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  3. Prepare your flank steak cuts by cutting with the grain of the meat. You should help your steak knife at a 30-degree angle. Use a cutting board to avoid damaging your countertops. Cut the steak into slices that are about an inch and a half to two inches wide. You should be able to get about 12 slices from a 7-inch square piece of flank steak.
  4. Set your slices apart on a sheet of plastic wrap, and then cover them over with more plastic wrap. Pound your slices down until they are about one sixteenth of an inch thick.
  5. Lay three slices of beef beside each other and overlap them a little to create a square that is 6 inches in all sides. Season the square with salt lightly, and then add three scallions over the meat, resting them in the direction of the grain.
  6. Roll the meat around the scallions and use kitchen twine to tie them shut on the ends. Do this and all of step #5 with the entirety of your meat and scallions.
  7. Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, sake, and rice vinegar (or mirin). Keep mixing until the sugar dissolves. Then, place the steak and scallion rolls into a bowl and use the sugar mixture as a marinade and coating. Turn the rolls over and coat them completely with the sugar mixture. Let them sit in the marinade for about 20 minutes.
  8. Start up the grill while your steak rolls are marinating. Light just one chimney on the grill and when all the charcoal is lit and has grey ash covering it, you can spread the coals out over the coal grate evenly. Place the cooking grate where it goes and cover the grate, letting the grill heat up for about five minutes.
  9. Oil and clean the grilling grate and grill the rolls. Cook the rolls for about 2-3 minutes on each side and then set to the side to rest.
  10. When you are letting the meat rest, you can take the rest of your marinade and pour it into a small pot. Cook on medium heat and bring to a boil. After about 4 minutes of cooking at a boil, the marinade should have thickened.
  11. Take the twine off of the negimaki rolls and cut the rolls into slices that are 1 inch thick. Set the rolls onto a plate and drizzle the marinade sauce over them and then serve hot.

Can You Make Beef Negimaki without Alcohol?

The traditional or best beef negimaki recipe includes sake and sometimes mirin as well, both of which are Japanese wines. If you want to avoid having any alcohol in the recipe at all, you can make substitutions.

The mirin is a lower alcohol content wine when compared to the sake, but it still does have some alcohol to it. This one is an easy substitution. You just change it out for rice vinegar. You can use the same amount and they substitute on a 1:1 ratio.

Changing out the sake for another ingredient or set of ingredients is not as simple. How to make your beef negimaki recipe the best it can be while substituting the sake?

You can change out the sake for a two-ingredient mixture of rice vinegar and either white grape juice or water. You use this mixture at a ratio of 1 cup of rice vinegar to three cups of either water or white grape juice.

If you are using this as a substitute for sake in a recipe, then for every ¼ cup of sake, you would need to use 1 cup of rice vinegar and 3 cups of water or white grape juice.

What Goes Good with Beef Negimaki?

Traditionally, beef negimaki is served with asparagus. Just about any beef and asparagus negimaki recipe will call for the asparagus to be grilled, and you can do that at the same time you grill the beef.

This dish also goes well with rice, mashed potatoes, steak fries, grilled vegetables, and pasta. If you eat it with your steak, you can serve it with negimaki.

The beef has a teriyaki sauce flavor into it, so keep that in mind and consider a dish that will go well with the sweetness. Usually, I would recommend something that is somewhat bland or rich in carbs to help counter the sweetness of the sauce you’ll be making your beef negimaki in.