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Japanese A5 Wagyu Steaks with Sesame Salt and Grilled Rice Cakes (Onigiri)

Other Recipes from Episode 405: Wagyu Demystified


Japanese A5 Wagyu Steaks with Sesame Salt and Grilled Rice Cakes (Onigiri)

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: Time for the rice to cook and cool, about 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves: 3 to 4
  • Method: Grilling on a plancha


For the sesame salt:

  • 1/2 cup coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns

For the steaks:

  • 1 Japanese A5 wagyu New York strip steak, 5- to 6-ounces
  • 2 Japanese A5 wagyu loin steaks, each 4- to 5-ounces
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea)

For the rice cakes (onigiri):

  • 3 cups cooked sticky white or brown rice, or sushi rice

You’ll also need:

  • A plancha, flat griddle, or cast iron skillet; a dry skillet or wok for preparing the sesame salt

Recipe Steps

1: Make the sesame salt: Combine the salt, white and black sesame seeds, and the peppercorns. Heat a dry skillet or wok over a medium-hot fire and roast until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let the mixture burn. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. You won’t need all the sesame salt for this recipe: store the excess in a sealed jar away from heat or light. It will keep for several weeks.

2: Prepare the onigiri: Using 1/2 cup of rice for each rice cake, form into patties and place on a plate lined with plastic wrap. Cover with more plastic wrap and set aside or refrigerate until ready to grill.

3: Grill the steaks: Set up a grill for direct grilling and heat a plancha over a hot fire. Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on the plancha and grill until crusty and browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. The Japanese generally serve A5 wagyu more on the medium side than rare. Transfer the steaks to a platter and keep warm. Leave the plancha on the grill.

4: Grill the onigiri in the residual wagyu fat on the plancha. They should be crusty and brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

5: To serve, transfer the steaks and onigiri to plates and serve the sesame salt on the side for sprinkling.

Recipe Tips

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Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2022 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein