I love steak tartare because to make a really good one – it’s all about the seasoning. It has to be almost too tasty, in order to make it the dish it is. Salty, sour, sweet, you can basically use steak tartare as a vehicle to carry the flavours of any cuisine you like: it’s just about applying the elemental flavours of that cuisine and topping it with a raw egg yolk.
Sichuan food has lots of chilli oil, Sichuan pepper, dried roasted chillies, while a Vietnamese version might feature plenty of fresh, mixed herbs like coriander (cilantro), Vietnamese mint, lemongrass and, of course, fish sauce. I’ve also played with Thai (lime leaf, roasted rice, lime juice, chilli, fish sauce) and Mexican (dried chipotle, coriander, served with tortilla chips) versions of this dish.
To make Sichuan steak tartare, it’s important you use the best-quality piece of beef you can afford. I use tri-tip (triangular in shape, cut from the bottom of the sirloin) because it has a good texture and chew, rather than using fillet, which is a bit too soft. To appreciate the texture and quality of the beef, it must be chopped by hand, regardless of which cut you choose.
Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
Remove all visible sinew from the beef with a sharp knife, then cut into very small 4 × 4 mm (¼ × ¼ inch) cubes. Put in a bowl and add the spring onions, chilli oil and 160 ml (
Fry the cassava crackers in oil according to the packet instructions.
Divide the tartare mixture among six plates. Sprinkle each plate with some fried garlic chips and top with some baby coriander. Serve immediately, with the fried cassava crackers and cucumber slices on the side.
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