Yukhoe is a beef tartare from Korea. It is fresh, delicately seasoned, and one of the most popular hoe (회).
What does yukhoe mean?
Yukhoe (육회) which literally means “raw meat” in Korean, is a variety of hoe (“raw dish”) in Korean cuisine. It is prepared from raw lean ground beef that is seasoned with different spices and sauces, and traditionally accompanied by Asian pear.
Yukhoe is none other than the Korean version of the steak tartare so popular in French cuisine.
In Korean cuisine, hoe (회) is therefore a type of raw meat, fish or seafood dish.
There are two main types: hoe (회), “raw”, and sukhoe (숙회), “blanched”.
Hoe can refer to various raw food dishes in Korean cuisine. Here are some examples:
- Saengseon hoe is prepared with fresh fish and is called hwareo hoe (활어 ou) or with less fresh fish and which is called seoneo-hoe (선어회),
- Mulhoe (물회) is a cold raw fish soup,
- Cheonyeop hoe (처녑 회) is made from abomasum or beef stomach,
- Deunggol hoe (등골 회) is made from beef stomach,
- Dugol-hoe (두골 회) is made from beef brain,
- Hoe gan (간회) is made from raw beef liver flavored with sesame oil,
- Gaphoe (갑회) is made from a mixture of beef liver, kidney, stomach, and abomasum,
- Japhoe (잡회) is made from beef liver, tripe, kidney and lean meat,
- Kongpat Hoe (콩팥 회) is made from beef kidney,
- Satae hoe (사태 회 is based on a beef hanger steak,
- Soesim hoe (쇠심 회) is based on beef tendons,
- Yanggan hoe (양간 회) is made from beef tripe and liver,
- Yanghoe (양회) is made from beef tripe,
- Dongchi hoe (동치 회) is made from pheasant meat,
- Dangyuk-hoe (장 육회) is made from deer meat,
- Nogyuk hoe (녹 육회) is made from venison meat,
- Sanjeo hoe (산저 회) is made from wild boar meat,
- Toyuk hoe (토 육회) is made from rabbit meat,
- Yangyuk hoe (양육 회) is made from lamb meat,
- Yukhoe is made from lean beef.
What is the origin of steak tartare?
Although steak tartare is a renowned dish of French cuisine, which later became an international dish, it is widely popular in central Europe, in France, in Belgium, in the Netherlands, even in East Asia and may present different variants.
The Tartar name derives from the Tartar people. This ethnic group of Turkic origin was historically a people of warriors and itinerants, therefore used to traveling a lot. As such, not having much time to cook, they had to optimize the preparation times of meat and food in general.
They thus invented the transport of meat under the saddles of their horses: in doing so, the long gallops allowed the grinding of the meat, which was therefore immediately ready for consumption.
This way of eating raw, beaten and ground meat, although unorthodox, was completely unusual and innovative. This specialty later became very popular in Tsarist Russia, where cooks frequently prepared it.
With the exile to France in 1900, the cooks exported it and it became one of the staple dishes of French classic cuisine.
With its popularity, steak tartar gave rise to different variations around the world, from the Scandinavian countries to South America, as well as Asia and Oceania.
What cut to use for steak tartare?
In Korean cuisine, there are very detailed classifications regarding the freshness, quality and differentiation of the cuts of meat according to the modes and methods of cooking.
Since yukhoe uses raw lean beef, freshness is the most important criterion, and it is recommended not to consume it more than 24 hours after a possible defrosting, and in case of fresh meat, it should not traditionally be aged more than one day after being slaughtered.
Since 2004, the Korean government has managed the beef traceability system. This system requires identification numbers with the age of the original animal, supplier, distributor, grade of beef, date of slaughter, and origin.
To taste a good tartare, the only solution is to favor the best cuts of beef: tenderloin, rib eye, filet, tenderloin, or rump steak.
Filet is by far the best cut of beef for steak tartare, because it is the most tender cut of beef and has the right amount of fat and flavor. The fresher the meat, the better the yukhoe.
How to handle raw beef
It is best to cut the meat at the last moment, on a perfectly clean board and with a knife previously placed in the freezer. The dish should also be placed in the fridge.
However, for cooks who wish to cut it ahead of time, it should never be stored for more than 6 hours in the refrigerator, and at a temperature between 36 F and 39 F (between 2°C and 4°C), covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container.
Always adopt the following steps when making a tartar:
Enjoy this deliciously fresh beef tartare with excellent Asian notes.
- 1 lb beef fillet (very fresh)
- 1 Asian pear
- 5 teaspoons caster sugar
- 4 cups cold water
- 8 cloves garlic , chopped
- 2 scallions , chopped
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 4 egg yolks (optional)
Place the beef in the freezer for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Prepare the seasoning sauce by mixing the garlic, scallion, soy sauce, 2 teaspoons caster sugar, freshly ground black pepper, sesame oil and sesame seeds in a bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix the cold water and the rest of the caster sugar.
Peel the Asian pear and cut into matchsticks.
Soak it in sugar water for 10 minutes.
Drain the pear sticks and dry them with paper towels.
Place them in a dish, making room in the center to place the meat.
Take the beef out of the freezer and rinse it under running cold water.
Dry it thoroughly with paper towel.
Cut or mince the beef finely with a knife, then pour the reserved sauce over and mix well.
Place the yukhoe in the dish, in the center with the pieces of Asian pear around.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately, topped with an egg yolk (optional).