Sep 21, 2017

Beef Tongue Rice Bowl with Lemon Onion Sauce (牛タン丼)

Got two fine pieces of trimmed beef tongue the other day. No need to worry about pre-boiling the tongue or peeling the outer membrane. Even though the size was smaller than expected, but the already prepped meat did save a lot of cooking time. Few steps closer to mealtime, no complaints there.

Beef tongue rice bowl with lemon onion sauce - 

Ingredients (for two servings)?
  • 0.7 lb/about 300 grams trimmed beef tongue
  • 1/4 small onion
  • 2 stalks scallion
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Japanese tsuyu 
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 yellow or orange citrus
  • 2 portions basmati and quinoa rice 
  • Some salt
  • Some olive oil


The ingredients can be modified based on what's available in the kitchen. It doesn't have to be fancy basmati rice and quinoa mixture, simply plain steamed white rice will do. 

However, for the beef tongue, if you can use all the end section of the tongue, that will be wonderful. Tips can be very chewy and better to be sliced as thin as possible. The ends are more tender and can cut into thicker slices, which translates to fuller bites. The ones I got here are half of the tips and half of the ends.

One note on slicing the tip of the tongue. Try to slice it when the meat is still half frozen. The meat is easier to handle and will not slide around when slicing. The ends don't need to be thinly sliced, but try to keep it less than half inch thick. You can tell that I failed to slice the tip as thin as I would imagined - I over-defrosted it and refused to wait one hour longer to pop the tongue back into the freezer.

Prepare enough rice for two portions.

Peel and cube the onion. Soak the onion in icy cold water for about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towel. This step helps mellow out the flavor and reduce the oniony aftertaste.

Trim off the scallion stems and fine chop the remaining section. Mix the scallion together with onion cubes, lemon juice, about 1/2 tablespoon citrus juice, and tsuyu. Citrus is key here since this sauce needs a gentle tap of fruity sweetness to balance off the lemon sourness. Taste and adjust the flavors if desired.

Brush some olive to coat the surface of a grill pan and heat it up using medium high heat. Make sure the tongue is rested under room temperature for at least 5 minutes before searing. Sprinkle some salt on both sides of the tongue slices.

Once the pan turns hot, transfer the tongue slices over, piece by piece. Cook till lovely grilled marks are shown. The thinner tips cook faster of course, so remove them from heat first and continue to cook the ends till ready to serve. Let the meat rest for few minutes before serving.

Scoop the rice to the serving bowl and lay the seared beef tongue on the sides. Spoon some lemon onion sauce in the middle. Garnish with some grated yellow citrus throughout.

The sauce doesn't need to be too salty since the tongue pieces were already seasoned with salt on both sides. The key is the crunch from the onion and a touch of refreshing scent from the lemon.

The ends are especially delicious, tender yet bouncy bite every time. Let me try to get only the end part in the future, it should be a great ingredients for curry. 

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