Sara Deseran, author of Sake: A Modern Guide.
Part of the beauty of the slaw that accompanies these beef kebabs is its matchstick-crunchy texture. You don’t have to have Martin Yan’s knife skills to achieve perfect julienne—you just need a mandoline. While French mandolines can be very pricey, plastic Japanese mandolines are inexpensive and work perfectly well. Just make sure you watch your fingers when slicing.
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
½ teaspoon chili sauce
1 pound thick rib-eye steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
Bamboo skewers soaked in water
¾ pound English cucumbers, peeled
¾ pound carrots, peeled
⅓ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
For the kebabs
- In a bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, and chili sauce. Add the beef, toss well, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to marinate.
- To prepare the beef, thread the cubes onto bamboo skewers (soak the skewers first in water to keep them from burning).
- Prepare a grill. When it’s very hot, place the skewers of beef on the grill and cook over direct heat for about 4 minutes, turning every minute or so. Remove from the grill and serve hot with a spoonful of the slaw alongside.
For the carrot slaw
- Slice the cucumbers into 4-inch lengths. Using a mandoline, slice these pieces into matchsticks.
- Place the sliced cucumber in a colander for about 20 minutes to allow any extra juice to drain.
- To slice the carrots, take an entire carrot and, pointing down at an angle, slice into matchsticks on the mandoline. (Throw the carrot stubs away if they get too hard to slice or if the blades get too close to your fingers.)
- In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Add the carrots and cucumber, toss well, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Let the slaw come to room temperature before serving. Serve with beef kebabs.
Sake pairing suggestions: Taiheizan Kimoto Junmai, Niwa No Uguisu Junmai, Kurosawa Junmai.