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Recipes for men: The Semi-Naked Chef’s Asian Beef Tacos

This dish follows closely on from Brian Kennett’s last triumph, Asian beef carpaccio, which we featured here at EX a couple of weeks ago. Instead of Asia-via-Italy, though, this one is Asia-via-Mexico. Take it away, Brian.
how to make a taco, our guide to tacos for men 


For a recent mate’s barbecue get-together, I wanted to create something a little different for consumption. And so I came up with a recipe for Asian beef tacos. Now, I think they look great and I have to say they tasted damn fine too – what more do you want? Oh, that’s right – an icy cold beer to go with them (a must for this recipe, gents).

I’ve split the instructions to make it simpler to follow. This will make about four big tacos, or you could use smaller tacos to make more individual portions – or indeed you could completely cheat and buy pre-made ones. You will need:


* 3-4 nice-sized sirloin steaks;

* 2 cups of yuzu juice or lemon juice (yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit that you can buy the juice of in cartons now);

* 2 tablespoons of brown sugar;

* a good glug of olive oil; and, of course …

* a good pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.

As this was a family barbecue, I left the “heat” out. But you could simply add some chopped chillies to get the bum-burner effect going. (It really would have been a good addition to this dish – but I succumbed because of the kids!)

Toss all the above ingredients into a zip-lock bag and throw in the fridge overnight to marinate.

When you’re nearly ready to cook, take the bag out of the fridge and allow the meat to sit for 30 minutes or so to warm to room temperature. Never cook meat straight from the fridge.

I cooked these on the barbecue skillet surface, but a pan, grill or direct on a barbecue grill would do. They only need 3 to 4 minutes for each side to be nicely charred. Then it’s off the heat, onto a plate and cover with some foil and a tea towel to allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes; this will also remove some of the bloodiness by continuing to “cook” for a little longer, while keeping the juices nicely in the meat rather than gushing all over the plate. Once it’s rested, simply slice the meat across the grain into thin slices – stand to one side.


* 1 English cabbage; slice this as thinly as you can, and break up any large lumps, then leave to one side;

* maybe add a couple of limes cut into quarters for a little extra zing.

You truly could use any green leaf here – it doesn’t matter: rocket, lettuce, or even whack some herbs on; coriander and basil would be an interesting combination.


* ½ cup of Japanese mayonnaise;

* 2 inches of grated fresh wasabi (if you can’t get fresh wasabi, use the paste in a tube, or even resort to normal UK horseradish)

* 2 tablespoons of lime juice; and, of course, …

* a good pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.

Mix all these together in a bowl until it forms a smooth consistency. If you like, you can then transfer this to a squeezy bottle so people can help themselves to more if needed.


* 4 plain flour tortillas (you could use a flavoured variety, like garlic or onion – your choice).

Here’s an über-cool tip for homemade tacos. Whack some plain flour tortillas on the barbecue, skillet or under the grill – however you’re doing this; each side will need less than a minute likely. As they start to blacken, flip them over to do the other side. When they’re nicely charred and starting to puff up a little, take them off the heat and quickly wrap them around a rolling pin. I say quickly because while warm they will still be pliable. Hold them around the rolling pin until they have cooled and – hey, presto! – you should just have made your very own large taco shells. (See the picture!)


Step one: Take a taco.

Step two: Place in a good portion of the meat.

Step three: Cover with some of the finely chopped cabbage.

Step four: Squirt over the dressing.

Step five: Add a squeeze of lime.


And there you have it folks, the Semi-Naked Chef’s Asian beef tacos.

To read more of Brian’s recipes, along with restaurant reviews and more, click here.