Chaliapin Steak

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In 1936 the Russian opera singer Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin was in Tokyo to record Mussorgsky’s “The Song of the Flea”.  He was staying at the Imperial Hotel and asked the staff if he could have a very soft steak for dinner, because he had a toothache.  This was the origin story for Chaliapin Steak which is currently sold for Yen 5,500 at the Brasserie of the
Imperial Hotel.


This posting is essentially the same as the posting for Yoshoku Steak, with a difference in the preparation.  I will note that last night I served sauce intended for two pounds of steak with one pound of steak, and Carol commented that it was too salty, which is really because there was too much salt.  If serving for 2, the ingredients for the sauce should be cut in half.

“Yoshuku” is the Japanese word for Japanese adaptations of Western cuisine.  This “yoshoku steak” illustrates that meaning since a pan-fried steak with a sauce is a Western idea, but in this case the sauce is made with
such Japanese ingredients as soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar.  The sauce was adapted from a recipe in Tadashi Ono’s Japanese Soul Cooking, which was also based on Chaliapin Steak.

2 lbs. steaks for pan-frying

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbs. butter, divided

I large onion, grated

1 large onion, finely chopped (~6 oz.)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Pinch of sugar

Pinch of baking soda

¼ cup mirin

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tsp. rice vinegar

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

2 Tbs. chopped parsley (optional)

Between 30 minutes and 2 hours before cooking the steaks, begin preparation.  On a cutting board, pound the steaks to reduce their thickness. Score both sides of the steaks with a crosshatch of shallow cuts about
1/3 inch apart.  Line a suitably sized baking dish with plastic wrap.  Smear one side of the steaks with the grated onion and put the smeared side down on the plastic wrap.  Spread the remaining grated onion on the upper side, and cover the steaks with plastic wrap.  Allow to rest at room temperature for between 30 minutes and 2 hours.  When ready to cook, scrape off the grated onion and dry the steak with paper towels.

Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in a large skillet.  Add the onion, garlic, sugar, and baking soda, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until
nicely caramelized, about 8 minutes.  Add the mirin and soy sauce, and
cook over high heat for about a minute until reduced, stirring
constantly.  Add the rice vinegar and cook for another 30 seconds,
stirring constantly.  Remove the pan from the heat and put the sauce in a
small bowl.

Wipe out the frying pan.  Heat the pan over medium-high heat with the
remaining 1 Tbs. of butter and with the 1 Tbs. of oil.  Cook the steaks,
flipping them every minute, until done (about 130 degrees in the center for
medium.  Put the steaks on a plate to rest for a minute.  Pour off
any excess fat from the pan.  Return the sauce to the pan and stir to
incorporate any browned bits remaining in the pan.  Also add to the sauce
any juices released by the steaks as they rest.

To serve the steak, spoon the sauce on the steaks and top them with the optional chopped parsley.



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