Koji-Rubbed Delmonico Steak with Ponzu Dipping Sauce

January 13, 2021

This recipe requires a little prepping but cooking this restaurant-quality tender steak is quick and simple with the help of a special steak rub using koji. Koji is a Japanese rice that has been introduced to a type of mold that contains enzymes useful in the processes of making certain fermented ingredients like miso and sake. Over the past few years, chefs have popularized using koji to cure meats, and the ingredient can be found at many Japanese markets. Paring this melt-in-your-mouth steak with ponzu, a Japanese citrus and soy dipping sauce, creates a combination fit for a special occasion. 

Serves 2-3


1lb Grass-Fed Local Roots Delmonico steak 

⅓ cup koji rice

salt and pepper 

4 tbsp. high-heat cooking oil

For the ponzu dipping sauce:

¼ cup bonito flakes 

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tbsp. mirin

¼ cup lemon or lime juice

1 tsp. lemon or yuzu zest


  1. Blitz the koji rice in a high-powered blender or spice grinder, until coarsely ground. 
  2. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and rub the koji on the meat, making sure to press it in and cover it entirely. 
  3. Place on a wire rack over a sheet tray and store in the fridge for at least 12 hours, up to two days. 
  4. To prepare the dipping sauce, combine bonito flakes, soy sauce, mirin (or sugar) in a saucepan over the stove. Heat everything together until just beginning to simmer, and the sugar, if using, is dissolved.
  5. Let the soy sauce mixture steep for at least 5 minutes, off of the heat. 
  6. Strain the soy mixture and add the lemon juice and zest. The ponzu can be stored for up to two weeks in the fridge. 
  7. To cook the steak, preheat oven to 450°F 
  8.  Heat an oven-proof skillet on the stove and add a generous glug of high-heat oil. 
  9. While the oil is heating, scrape the koji off of the meat with a spoon. Scraping off the rice bits ensures they don’t burn in the hot pan.
  10. Generously season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.
  11. Place the steak in the pan and press down to achieve an even sear. This will take a few minutes. 
  12. Flip the steak when the underside has a dark brown crust, and cook on the other side for one to two minutes more, pressing firmly down on the meat. 
  13. Place the skillet in the oven for 9-12 minutes, depending on how well done you prefer your meat. 
  14. Let rest for 10 minutes, covered with foil on a cutting board.
  15. Slice against the grain and serve with ponzu dipping sauce. 

This recipe was created by Local Roots Recipe Contributor Sachi Nagase / @bothand.nyc

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