The whole family will love these fresh Japanese beef rolls.


6 beef minute steaks
12 stalks asparagus
12 spring onions
1 carrot
60ml (1/4 cup) light soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake (see Top tips) or dry sherry
2 tablespoons mirin (see Top tips)
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
40g butter
100g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Steamed rice, to serve



1) Bring a saucepan of water to the boil over medium–high heat. Meanwhile, halve beef widthwise. Place half the beef side by side between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound until 4mm thick. Repeat with remaining beef.

2) Trim asparagus and onions to 8cm lengths. Cut carrot into 12 x 8cm-long batons. Blanch asparagus and carrot in boiling water for 30 seconds. Add onions, then blanch for a further 30 seconds. Drain, refresh in iced water, then drain again. Pat dry with paper towel.

3) To assemble rolls, place 1 piece of beef lengthwise on a work surface. Lay 1 asparagus stalk, 1 carrot piece and 1 onion widthwise along bottom edge. Roll up beef to enclose vegetables. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining beef and vegetables.

4) Combine soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar in a bowl. Add beef rolls and turn to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add half the rolls and cook, turning, for 5 minutes or until browned and just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and rolls. Wipe pan clean and reserve remaining marinade.

5) Return pan to heat with butter. Melt butter, then add mushrooms. Cook, tossing, for 3 minutes or until browned. Stir in reserved marinade, bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.

6) Divide beef rolls among bowls. Drizzle with mushroom sauce and serve with steamed rice.

Notes: These rolls are known as negimaki. You can vary the vegetables to include green beans, baby corn or wilted spinach. You will need 12 toothpicks.
Top tips: Sake is from bottle shops. Mirin is sweet Japanese rice wine. Available from supermarkets.


Photography by Brett Stevens