Get ready to fall in love with this amazing Japanese-style Steak Garlic Rice! Here, tender cubes of seared beef are tossed in a smoky steak sauce and nestled on a bed of buttery garlic rice that‘s crisped until golden in the pan. Top it off with crushed garlic chips for extra crunch and savory goodness!
This Steak Garlic Rice is seductive.
I couldn’t think of any better word to describe the dish when I first saw and tasted it at Kemuri Japanese Baru. If you’re right there with me, you’d probably agree. What else can you say about buttery, garlic-y rice topped with smoky seared beef and crunchy garlic chips! Every bite off the plate is just irresistible.
After sharing Hamachi Crudo, I’m eager to introduce another amazing dish by Chef Takeo Moriyama, and that is his popular Steak Garlic Rice—which goes by Garlic Rice & Wagyu Steak Paella on the restaurant menu.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy and fast! It takes less than 20 minutes to make, and minimal fuss! What’s not to love?
- It goes well with all kinds of dishes including Japanese (or general Asian) and Western-style food.
- Tastes great even at room temperature. Pack this for your lunch or kids’ bento!
How to Make Steak Garlic Rice
The Ingredients You’ll Need
- Sirloin flap steak – Chef Moriyama used this cut for the recipe, but you can also use ribeye like I did. (I bought Snake River Farm Ribeye from Suruki Market in San Mateo.)
- Smoked or regular soy sauce – You can purchase smoked soy sauce or make my homemade version.
- Mentsuyu (Japanese noodle soup base) – This all-purpose condiment is a must-keep in your fridge to cook noodle soups and other Japanese dishes!
- Unsalted butter
- Day-old Japanese short-grain rice
- Green onions/scallions
- Fried garlic chips – You can purchase or make my homemade version.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The Cooking Steps
- Season the steak with salt and pepper. Make the steak sauce by combining smoked soy sauce, mentsuyu, and minced garlic.
- Make garlic butter by sautéing minced garlic in melted butter on medium-low heat. Then, pour the garlic butter over day-old steamed rice in a bowl. Mix well along with mentsuyu, salt, and black pepper.
- Sear the steak on medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side. Once the steak is cooked to medium-rare, wrap it in the foil to rest for 3-4 minutes. Then cut the steak into dice and soak them in the steak sauce.
- While preparing the steak, stir fry the rice in a cast iron pan and cook until heated through and the bottom of the rice gets crispy.
- Top the garlic rice with steak, chopped green onions, and fried garlic chips.
Recipe Tips and Techniques
- If you don’t have day-old rice, transfer the just-cooked rice to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Evenly spread the rice to let it cool.
- Make the garlic butter on medium-low heat. DO NOT use medium or higher heat; otherwise, the butter and garlic will be burnt. Let the garlic simmer in the melted butter.
- Premix the rice with garlic butter and seasoning, which helps avoid over-mixing in the frying pan. You don’t want mushy rice here.
- Don’t skip smoked soy sauce as it really adds a nice hint of smoky flavor.
- I recommend using a cast-iron or carbon steel frying pan to cook the steak first and then the garlic rice, if you only have one. Their heat retention and even heat distribution are incomparable. I use a 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet and an 11-inch Debuyer carbon steel pan in this recipe.
- To Store. It’s best to store the steak and garlic rice separately in an airtight container (since reheating time is different) and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Warm the steak and garlic rice in a frying pan over medium-low heat, or microwave it until it’s heated through.
- To Freeze. You can freeze the steak and garlic rice for up to a month. Defrost them in the refrigerator overnight or microwave while frozen.
What to Serve with Steak Garlic Rice
- Salad – This dish consists of butter, garlic, rice, and steak… yeah, it’s pretty heavy on calories. So make sure to balance it out with veggies! How about salads like Heirloom Tomato Salad, Tofu Salad with Sesame Ponzu Dressing, or Arugula Salad with Fennel and Navel Orange?
- Soup – Corn Potage (Japanese Corn Soup), Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup, or chilled Hiyajiru (Cold Miso Soup) might be a nice addition to the meal.
- Veggie Sides – Japanese Roasted Kabocha Squash, Quick Korean Fresh Kimchi, or Okra with Ginger Soy Sauce might be a nice and quick side dish to make.
Dining at Kemuri Japanese Baru in Redwood City
Located in downtown Redwood City, California, Kemuri Japanese Baru specializes in creative Japanese izakaya dishes and drinks. They offer unique bites like oxtail udon, corn tempura, and wagyu steak bowl, and it is hands down our favorite local restaurant. The authentic flavors and delicious combinations remind us of restaurants in Japan but it’s right here in our backyard.
Our favorite dishes from the restaurant include:
- Umami Edamame
- Kemuri Ceviche
- Hamachi Crudo
- Kemuri Green Salad
- Crispy Chicken Karaage
- Smoked Hamachi Kama
- Corn Tempura
- Garlic Rice & Wagyu Steak Paella
- Oxtail Udon
- Yaki Oni Benedict
Steak Garlic Rice
For the Steak
- 8 oz sirloin flap steak (or ribeye; ½ inch thick; trimmed of fat)
- ⅛ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tsp Homemade Smoked Soy Sauce (you can buy it on Amazon, make my Smoked Soy Sauce, or add ¼ tsp of liquid smoke to 1 Tbsp regular soy sauce)
- 2 Tbsp mentsuyu (concentrated noodle soup base)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tbsp neutral oil (for searing the steak)
For the Garlic Rice
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (for cooking the garlic)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 servings cooked Japanese short-grain rice (cooled; day-old rice, preferably; if you haven‘t prepped the rice yet, cook 1½ rice cooker cups (270 ml or 1⅛ US cups) of short-grain rice and follow my instructions below on how to cool it)
- 2 tsp mentsuyu (concentrated noodle soup base)
- ⅛ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter (for reheating the rice)
Before You Start…
- Bring the refrigerated day-old rice or frozen rice to room temperature. If you don‘t have day-old rice, cook the rice as you normally would. Then, transfer the cooked rice to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Evenly spread the hot rice and let cool on the countertop.
- Gather all the ingredients. Prepare two carbon steel pans or cast iron skillets so that you‘re ready to cook the steak and the garlic rice simultaneously.
To Prepare the Steak Ingredients
- Lightly season both sides of 8 oz sirloin flap steak (or ribeye) with ⅛ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt and ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Set the steak aside on the countertop to bring it to room temperature, about 20–30 minutes. Tip: Bringing the steak to room temperature is important for achieving a medium-rare doneness.
- In a medium bowl, combine 4 tsp Homemade Smoked Soy Sauce, 2 Tbsp mentsuyu (concentrated noodle soup base), and minced garlic (I pressed 1 clove garlic using a garlic press) for the steak sauce. Mix them all together and set aside.
To Prepare the Garlic Rice Ingredients
- Mince 2 cloves garlic (I use a garlic press) for the rice. Transfer 2 servings cooked Japanese short-grain rice to a large bowl.
- Heat a frying pan on medium low. When it‘s hot, add 2 Tbsp unsalted butter and minced garlic. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Be careful not to burn the garlic and butter. Once the garlic is fragrant and no longer raw, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the garlic butter to the bowl with the rice.
- Add 2 tsp mentsuyu (concentrated noodle soup base), ⅛ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper to the bowl. Gently toss all the ingredients together and set aside for now.
To Cook the Steak
- Heat a carbon steel pan or cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp neutral oil and spread it evenly. Add the steak to the pan and sear it for about 3–4 minutes on each side until medium rare. While the steak cooks on the first side, start cooking the garlic rice (go to the next heading).
- I use a cast iron grill press to press down the steak for even searing. After 3 minutes, flip the steak to the other side.
- Press down the steak and sear the other side for another 3 minutes. Remove the steak from the pan when it reaches an internal temperature of 130℉ (54.4℃).
- Wrap the steak in a sheet of aluminum foil and let it rest for 2–3 minutes. The steak will continue to cook as it rests to reach medium-rare doneness.
- While you finish crisping the rice, cut the steak into ½-inch (1.3 cm) strips, then dice the strips into ½-inch (1.3 cm) cubes.
- Add the dice-cut steak to the steak sauce that you made earlier and toss to coat well. Then, assemble the Steak Garlic Rice.
To Cook the Garlic Rice
- While the steak is cooking on the first side, heat 1 Tbsp unsalted butter for the garlic rice in another carbon steel pan or cast iron skillet set over medium heat. Once the butter is bubbling, add the cooled rice to the pan. Stir-fry the rice at first, tossing and flipping it over to heat up thoroughly. When it‘s heated through, spread the rice evenly in the pan and let it get crispy on the bottom. You can mostly attend to the steak while you crisp the garlic rice. Do not stir the rice during this time. Tip: Try to time the rice so that it‘s done crisping when the steak is done soaking. For example, you might turn up the heat a bit to help speed crisping or lower the heat if it‘s cooking too fast.
To Assemble the Steak Garlic Rice
- When the rice is done crisping, take the pan off the heat. Then, add the dice-cut steak centered neatly on top of the garlic rice in the pan. You can drizzle some of the remaining steak sauce over the rice. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of finely chopped green onion/scallion on top. To finish, crush 1 Tbsp fried garlic chips between your fingers and sprinkle over the rice.
- Present the Steak Garlic Rice directly in the pan at the table and portion onto individual plates. Enjoy!
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and keep them for 3 days in the refrigerator or for up to a month in the freezer.