Steak tartare recipe

Seven raw beef dishes from around the world

by Great British Chefs 22 July 2016

With the constant debate that surrounds the best ways to cook beef, it's easy to forget how delicious it can be served raw. From the familiar steak tartare to the lesser-known yukhoe, see how different cultures take raw meat and, with a few simple touches, turn it into something incredible.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

‘Fancy a plate of raw meat for dinner?’ isn’t the most appetising question in the world. We’re constantly warned of the dangers of undercooked chicken and the various harmful bacteria that meat of all kinds can harbour. But when it comes to beef, we’ve been eating it raw all over the world for thousands of years. While the UK doesn’t have any traditional raw beef dishes, in mainland Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa they know that a very fresh piece of tender beef only needs a little seasoning to bring out its incredible flavour. Here’s our list of the most interesting, delicious and popular raw beef dishes found all over the world and the stories behind them.

1. Carpaccio

This Italian dish can be traced back to 1960s Venice, when the famous Harry’s Bar restaurant wanted to serve something in celebration of the painter Vittore Carpaccio. Because the artist used lots of red and white colours in his paintings, raw beef seemed the obvious choice. Taking inspiration from the traditional Piedmont dish carne cruda all’albese (slices of raw veal marinated in lemon juice and served with Parmesan), beef carpaccio consists of wafer-thin slices of sirloin usually dressed in lemon, olive oil, salt and vinegar.

2. Kitfo

One of Ethiopia’s most popular traditional dishes, kitfo (or ketfo) consists of raw minced beef flavoured with a chilli powder called mitmita and a spiced clarified butter. It’s often served in a teff-based flatbread called injera. A variety of kitfo eaten in Ethiopia and Eritrea called gored gored is much simpler, consisting of unflavoured raw cubes of beef with buttered flatbreads.


3. Koi soi

Raw beef is very popular in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, and one of the most popular ways to serve it in the country is in a dish called koi soi (raw beef salad). Finely chopped or ground lean beef is marinated with plenty of fish sauce, garlic, lime juice, chillies and herbs, and can be topped with crispy onions or roasted crushed peanuts, served on a bed of lettuce.

Koi soi

4. Ossenworst

Originating in seventeenth century Amsterdam, this raw beef sausage was cold-smoked to preserve the meat. It was traditionally spiced with pepper, cloves and nutmeg, which were imported from the Dutch colonies, and the beef was dry-hung for extra flavour. In modern times, ossenworst tends to be a simple spiced lean beef, pressed into a sausage or patty, without the ageing and smoking.


5. Pittsburgh rare

An American steak with a fascinating story behind it, Pittsburgh rare comes from the city’s steel mills, where labourers would bring raw steaks to work and cook them on the various blast furnaces, blow pipes and nearly melted steel for lunch. These surfaces were so hot – almost 1,000°C – that the steak would char the second it hit the metal. This meant the outside was almost burnt while the inside stayed completely raw. The term is now used to describe thick steaks grilled very quickly over a high heat to keep the centre raw or blue.

Pittsburgh rare

6. Tartare

Arguably the most popular raw beef dish in the world, steak tartare has influenced many different variations on the original. In its most basic form, raw minced or chopped beef is formed into a patty and served with a raw egg yolk on top. Other ingredients include capers, gherkins and onions, which are combined with the beef and eaten with toast. The dish became popular at the beginning of the twentieth century in France and was called steack à l’Americaine, although it was served without an egg yolk and with tartar sauce instead.

7. Yukhoe

This Korean dish is similar to steak tartare but uses different seasonings and marinades to change the flavour. The meat – often beef fillet or other prime tender cuts – is sliced into matchsticks and trimmed of any fat, then tenderised in a marinade of soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil and flavoured with garlic, spring onions and sesame seeds. Yukhoe is served with a raw egg yolk on top, with julienned cucumbers and bae (Korean pear) on the side.