Sugar-Cured Beef on Ginger Buckwheat Noodles

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Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

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This dish features a curing method I first learnt at Rogalsky’s restaurant in Melbourne in the early 1980s. The flavours and ratio of sugar to salt vary with the type of meat that’s being cured, as does the time of curing. In this recipe the beef goes a deep red in the middle and dark brown on the outside. The method became popular at the New Zealand Sugar Club when I cured hapuka (a New Zealand groper) – a fat-fleshed, tasty fish. In London I have successfully used tuna and to a lesser extent swordfish. Salmon also works well, particularly if you replace the ginger, star anise and tamari with juniper and tarragon.


  • 500g (18 oz) beef fillet, preferably from the centre of the fillet, trimmed of all fat and sinews
  • 1kg (lb) demerara sugar
  • 700g (1 lb 9 oz) coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup finely chopped unpeeled ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and chopped
  • 8 star anise, ground in a spice grinder
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) tamari
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) sesame oil


  • 300g (11 oz) buckwheat noodles (use the 40% buckwheat variety for this dish as they are more pliable)
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil
  • ½ cup finely sliced spring onions
  • ½ cup chives cut into 2cm (¾in) lengths


To cure the beef, mix the first set of ingredients from the sugar to the oil together and place 1cm (⅓in) of the mix in the bottom of a rectangular dish that’s just bigger than the fillet. Put the beef on this and spoon the remaining mixture over the top; cover the dish and put in the fridge. Turn the meat every 12 hours and remove from the fridge after 60 hours. Rub off excess mix and place on a cake rack to drain for 2 hours. The beef is now ready to use and, wrapped in greaseproof paper, will keep in the fridge for a week.

A macrobiotic friend showed me how to cook buckwheat (or soba) noodles, and it’s a method well worth remembering if you find they always boil over. Bring 2 litres (3½ pints) of water to the boil in a 4 litre pan. Throw in the noodles and bring to a rapid boil, then pour in 200ml (7fl oz) cold water and bring back to the boil; pour in another 200ml cold water and this time when the noodles return to the boil drain in a colander, rinse gently with cold water and drain well.

Put the cold noodles into a big bowl and mix with all the remaining ingredients. Make tall mounds of the noodle salad on serving plates and put slices of beef on top.