Wagyu beef is known for its tender, juicy texture and beautiful marbling of fat and meat. Steak connoisseurs look at it as a piece of art that should be prepared only with the best ingredients. No wonder even the lowest grade of Wagyu beef can cost hundreds of ringgit per pound of meat.
For most Malaysians, meat is meat. What is so special about Wagyu beef that makes it one of the most sought-after, premium ingredients in the world? To get the answer, let’s go back to the basics.
What is Wagyu Beef?
Wagyu literally means “Japanese cattle”. If you guessed it right, you are off to a good start! Japanese cattle has the highest quantity of intramuscular fat compared to other cattle. The marbling effect is not just pleasing to the eyes but a feast to the mouth as well! The layering of fat gives the meat a nice meaty, rich flavour, especially the rib-eye part.
Choosing the right cut of meat can be difficult. There is a wide range of different cuts and grades to consider. It can be quite overwhelming for a first-timer. Although you can find hundreds of guides about choosing the right cut of meat within your budget, none is as simple as Chef Nik’s. Butterkicap’s own culinary extraordinaire, Celebrity Chef Nik Michael Imran, has his own 3 golden rules to guide you when cooking with Wagyu.
Chef Nik’s 3 Golden Steak Rules
Chef Nik Michael loves steaks, and his number one rule is to make it as uncomplicated and straightforward as possible. To him, a good steak must hit the steak trifecta:
a) nice crispy, seared crust,
B) maximise juiciness in the flesh. This is through heating the insides gently by flipping often
c) meat cooked to medium rare (or as low as you enjoy it)
In order to hit all three criteria, you only need to follow these 3 rules.
- Choose Your Meat
Do you know, each steak cut is graded? Yes, not just humans are graded but cows too! Unless you are planning to become a chef, most of us will not be able to understand it. In fact, you might get even more confused. The most important thing is you know where to get the best cuts and AAH Nippon saves you from that whole ordeal.
According to Chef Nik, there’s no one best cut that suits everybody’s taste but if he’d like to recommend one, it would be the A5 grade meat. But, at the end of the day, it depends on your own choice.
2. Salt to Crisp Ratio
Usually, steaks are flavoured simply with a generous amount of salt and a crack of pepper. Shockingly, that is a big no-no! Pepper takes away the flavour of wagyu and the one thing you don’t want is a bitter steak. Instead of fine salt, use salt flakes, Fine salt dissolves quickly and not able to absorb the moisture from the meat. Besides that, don’t forget to refrigerate the meat at least for an hour without covering.
3. Know Your Palate
Steaks can be prepared at four levels of doneness; well done, medium well, medium and medium-rare. Ideally, steaks are best eaten medium-rare. However, not everyone prefers it. So, follow the simple guide below to get the level of doneness that you desire.
a. Medium rare: Cooked to 55 Celsius
b. Medium: Cooked to 60 Celsius
c. Medium well: Cooked to 65 Celsius
d. Well done: Cooked to 70 Celsius
Padprik Wagyu, So Delicious!
Padprik is a Thai dish that has gained much popularity among Malaysians. But, why? Padprik is a wholesome dish that tastes sweet, sour and spicy at the same time. Thus, it is no surprise that Chef Nik loves it so!
- 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil
- 200g Wagyu steak, salted and refrigerated
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- 1tablespoon of grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons of cili giling/boh
- 1 lemongrass, bashed
- Kaffir lime leaves, 2 nos
- Cili padi, 2 nos (sliced lengthwise)
- 2 tablespoons of tom yam paste
- 200ml water
- 2 tablespoons of chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons of gula Melaka
- 2 teaspoons of fish sauce
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 carrot, cut into batons
- 2 long beans, cut into batons
- 1/4 cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1/2 shucked Japanese sweet corn
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
Preparing The Dish
- Place a wok on top of a high flame. Let it heat and pour in some oil.
- Place the steak in the wok. Constantly flip the steak every 20-30 seconds. After that, remove the steak when the top is well-seared with a good looking crust all over. Then, remove the steak & leave to rest on a wire rack.
- Next, lower the flame and in the same wok, add the minced garlic and grated ginger. Let it cooked till brown. About 1 minute.
- Now, add in the cili boh and let it cook until the oil starts to separate. About 2 minutes
- After that, add in the lemongrass, kaffir leaves and cili padi. Stir for 1-2 minute s. Next, add the tomyam paste and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour ini 100ml water. You may need to add more water as the sauce thickens. Add in the chili sauce, oyster sauce and Thai fish sauce.
- Moving on, add in the gula melaka. Stir to combine. Add salt to taste.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and add in your long beans, carrots and cauliflower florets. Toss it well & cook for 1 minute just to ever so slightly soften.
- Lastly, add in the corn and sliced onions. Stir to combine and turn off the fire.
- Before plating, remove the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf from the sauce.
- Next, slice the steak you’ve set aside to rest.
- Lastly, pour some of the sauce in a deep-bottomed plate and place the sliced steak on top.
AAH Nippon: Halal Wagyu Specialist
In Malaysia, finding the source of quality halal Wagyu meat was near to impossible since most supermarkets got their supply straight from Japan. Luckily, 2017 brought a game changer into the local meat scene.
AAH Nippon is the pioneer and biggest Halal Japanese Wagyu importer and distributor in Malaysia. With the aim to educate, create awareness and make Wagyu more affordable for Malaysians to enjoy, AAH Nippon provides webinars and classes for you to sign up and learn more about the intricacies of Wagyu cattle rearing, the technology behind it as well as the integration of the Halal procedure and the fine art of Japanese butchery.
Do You Luv Wagyu Like Chef Nik Does?
Cooking a steak piece is easy, but with the right technique, it can turn from a simple fare to a 5-star gourmet meal. However, if you’re not sure what to do, just follow Chef Nik’s 3 golden steak rules.
So, if you love Wagyu as much as Chef Nik, flex your newfound knowledge about Wagyu this #LuvWagyuMonth and get a chance to win fabulous cash vouchers or a supply of Halal, best quality Wagyu from AAH Nippon. For more information, click here!