Beef Shabu-shabu Salad is a main course salad with a plenty of protein in it. It is similar to Pork Shabu-shabu Salad, but the use of beef slices makes this salad a little bit more luxurious than the pork version. Well, it is considered to be so, at least in Japan, where the cost of beef is much higher than other meats.
As indicated in Shabu-shabu Hotpot, the typical dipping sauces served with shabu-shabu are sesame sauce and ponzu sauce. I made sesame dressing for my Pork Shabu-Shabu Salad. But today, I will show you a vinegar-based dressing, which is a bit different to ponzu dressing. The secret ingredient used for this dressing is kurozu (黒酢, Japanese black vinegar).
About Kurozu (Japanese Black vinegar)
I touched on kurozu in my post, Pantry Essentials for Japanese Cooking – Part 1, but I can talk about it in more detail today.
According to the Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS) definition, kurozu must be made using brown (unpolished) rice or a combination of rice and barley. Rice is the main ingredient, and this is the fundamental difference between kurozu (Japanese black vinegar) and Chinese black vinegar. Chinese black vinegar usually uses glutinous rice, sorghum, or a combination of these with other grains.
Kuroziu is pricier than normal rice vinegar because it takes 1-3 years to produce, and it is traditionally aged in a clay pot. The colour of most kurozu is dark amber or light brown depending on the age, but there are very dark kurozu (left in the photo above). The longer it is aged the darker it gets. On the other hand, all brands of Chinese black vinegar are black.
The texture of the liquid is just like normal rice vinegar, but Kurozu has more umami and a milder aroma with a less pungent scent than rice vinegar. You can even taste a slight sweetness.
Kurozu is rich in amino acid that have a wide range of health benefits. It also contains organic acid such as citric acid and acetic acid that have positive effects on fatigue, blood stream, skin care, uric acid level, hypertension, and many more.
Because of these health benefits, some people in Japan drink kurozu every day. It is said that a daily dosage of only 1 tablespoonful of kurozu is sufficient. Kurozu is an acid even if it is good for you, so you need to dilute it in water or soda water to drink it. I tried this with soda water, and I thought I could drink kurozu instead of gin & tonic every night.
It is recommended to mix 500ml/1.1pt of water/soda water and 1 tablespoon of kurozu and drink it in 2-3 divided doses after meal.
What’s in My Beef Shabu-shabu Salad with Kurozu Dressing
I put the ingredients into two groups – Salad and Kurozu Dressing.
- Shabu-shabu sliced beef
- Fresh salad
- ½ small pack of silken tofu
Shabu-shabu sliced beef is usually 1.5mm/1⁄16″ thick while Sukiyaki beef slices are 2mm/3⁄32″. You can get away with sukiyaki slices, but the cooked beef made from shabu-shabu slices is naturally tenderer.
I made a mixed salad by cutting cabbage, red cabbage, daikon, carrot, and cucumber very thinly. I also added a small amount of a couple of green salad leaves such as mizuna and endive. You can have any combination of these and other leafy salad.
I used 150g/5.3oz of tofu as a small tofu pack contains 300g/10.6oz of tofu, which seems to be the standard size in Australia. Other countries might have different sizes.
- Finely chopped onion
- Light flavourless oil such as canola oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
- Soy sauce
- Kurozu (Japanese black vinegar) – top left in the photo above.
You can substitute Chinese black vinegar for kurozu, but the flavour will be different. However, you can use rice wine vinegar with oyster sauce to mimic kurozu. You need to mix 4 parts rice vinegar and 1 part oyster sauce to substitute it.
How to Make Beef Shabu-shabu Salad with Kurozu Dressing
Because the beef slices are so thin, it takes no time to cook them in near-boiling water. The time taken to sauté the onion is actually longer than cooking the beef slices. This is a very quick dish to make but I made a video for this to show you how shabu-shabu beef is cooked.
- Sauté the onion in a frying pan until browned.
- Put the onion and the rest of the Dressing ingredients into a jar and shake well until sugar dissolves.
- Cut tofu into 6 small cuboids.
- Cut tomato into 8 wedges.
- Heat water in a shallow pot to near boiling. Cook beef slices one by one by shaking them in the hot water until the beef changes the colour to brown.
- Transfer the cooked beef to a bowl filled with ice water. Drain the beef slices.
- Assemble salad and put the beef slices on top of the vegetables. Pour the dressing over it.
You need to make sure that the water is not boiling vigorously with large bubbles surfacing. It is important to keep the water to near boiling. This will ensure that the cooked beef is very tender. Cooking meat in boiling water makes the meat hard.
Beef Shabu-shabu Salad is a low-calorie main meal, even if it contains beef. You can even make chilled beef shabu-shabu and dressing the day before serving so that all you need to do on the day will be the assembly.
Watch How To Make It
Beef Shabu-Shabu Salad with Kurozu Dressing
Salad (note 1)
- 200g/7.1oz shabu-shabu sliced beef (note 2)
- 250g/8.8oz mixed fresh salad (note 3)
- 150g/5.3oz silken tofu (1/2 of a standard small tofu pack in Australia)
- 1 tomato (medium size)
- 3 tbsp onion very finely chopped
- 2 tbsp oil (separated, note 4)
- 2 tbsp kurozu (note 5)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1-1.5 tbsp sugar
Making Kurozu Dressing
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a small frying pan over medium low heat.
- Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion pieces become light brown.
- Turn the heat off and transfer it to a jar.
- Add the remaining Kurozu Dressing ingredients to the jar, put a lid on and shake until the sugar dissolves.
Making Beef Shabu-shabu
- If your beef slices are very large, cut them into smaller pieces to about a half size of your palm.
- Put water in a pot sufficient to cook beef (about 5cm/2" deep) and bring it to a near boil (note 6).
- Fill several ice cubes and water in a bowl and place it next to the pot.
- Pick up beef slices one by one, and drop the slice into the hot water, then shake it few times until the slice becomes completely brown.
- Transfer the beef slice to the ice water immediately to cool it down.
- Repeat for the rest of the beef slices.
- Drain the beef slices through a sieve and shake the excess water off as much as possible.
- Place mixed fresh salad in a serving bowl, making a tall mound.
- Place the tofu pieces on the side, then tomato wedges next to tofu.
- Grab a bunch of beef slices and place them on top of the salad.
- Pour the kurozu dressing over it or serve the dressing in a separate jug.