Tataki  is a typical Japanese preparation of either beef or fish, which involves slightly searing the marinated meat, leaving it rare on the inside, and serving it thinly sliced with a citrus-based dipping sauce. Unlike most North American dishes, tataki is served cold and is more commonly made with beef.

Abundant in layers of flavor, beef tataki is a uniquely prepared appetizer that gained popularity as a healthy way to enjoy red meat.

While tataki actually means “pounded,” this is not in reference to the way the beef is prepared. Instead it refers to the ginger condiment that’s pounded with mortar and pestle and added for flavour. Originating in the 16th century, the technique of tataki was actually introduced to the Japanese by Europeans when they entered feudal Japan through the port of Nagasaki. A swordsman named Sakamoto Ryōma then developed the dish we now call tataki.

Today, beef tataki is best served with a bed of shiso or mizuna salad, crisp radishes, carrots matchsticks, and sliced onions to contrast the beef’s flavour. Beef tataki is also served with delicious ponzu sauce – the perfect dressing for a delectable dish.

Whether you’re savouring it at home or serving it at a dinner party, red meat lovers are sure to be satisfied with this mouthwatering appetizer.


  • For Beef Tataki:
  • 2 lbs trimmed beef tenderloin, chilled (fillet)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (available at Asian markets)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry or mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine
  • 3 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, zest of, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
  • For Ponzu Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger juice
  • 2 tablespoons very finely snipped fresh chives


  1. Rub vegetable oil and sweet soy sauce on the beef tenderloin and season with pepper. Place a frying pan over high heat. Once hot, sear the beef for three minutes on each side, or until brown.
  2. Transfer the seared beef to a tray and place it in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Be sure not to overcook your beef! Remember: it’s meant to be raw on the inside. Once finished, remove the beef from the tray and allow it to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, take a large re-sealable plastic bag and combine the low-sodium soy sauce, sherry (or mirin), green onions, garlic, and lemon zest. Once the beef has completely cooled, transfer it to the bag and refrigerate it for at least six hours. This keeps the flavours of the marinade fresh.
  4. For the ponzu sauce, whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar along with the lemon, lime, and ginger juices in a bowl. Continue whisking until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  5. Remove the beef from the re-sealable bag and discard the marinade. Thinly slice the beef before fanning it out on a plate. Drizzle ponzu sauce over the beef and serve!

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