Cut the onions in half lengthways and then slice into half moons 1cm wide. In a medium size saucepan, bring the wine and water to the boil over a moderate heat. Add the beef and simmer for a few minutes, skimming the surface of the broth as it foams. Add the soy sauce, mirin and sugar and cover with a drop lid of aluminium foil (see cooking note*) and simmer for a few more minutes.
Remove the lid, add the onions and again simmer until the onions are transparent and soft. Put the hot cooked rice into 4 bowls. Ladle the beef and onions, together with some soup from the pan onto each rice bowl and garnish with a little pickled ginger.
In this recipe we use a drop lid (called an otoshi buta) which is a wooden lid which drops inside a saucepan and sits directly on top of the food. We use this cooking technique frequently as it reduces the amount of liquid needed for cooking and concentrates the flavor. These days, even in Japan, many people use a circle of aluminium foil instead of a wooden lid – the important thing is that this ‘lid’ rests on top of the food, in the pan.
Recipe from Harumi's Japanese Cooking, By Harumi Kurihara, Published by Conran Octopus ltd. Click here to buy the book.
For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.