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Sesame oil (Recipe: beef teriyaki skewers)

Beef teriyaki skewers 

Some people, on their birthdays, love to dress up and go out for an elegant dinner in a beautiful restaurant.

Me? I love Chinese take-out and a romantic comedy on DVD.

Living in the country means that everything takes lots of planning. The nearest decent (but not great) Chinese take-out is 12 miles away, so it's easier to make my favorite dishes at home.

The nearest Asian market (also decent, but not great) is 20 miles away, so I keep my pantry stocked with basics: soy sauces, hot sauces, chili paste with garlic, noodles, dry rice paper wrappers, frozen wonton wrappers, rice vinegar, sesame oil.

That way, when my birthday rolls around (as it did, yesterday), I'm prepared to make lo mein, nime chow, and beef teriyaki, all of which, despite their origin, are Chinese restaurant favorites here in Rhode Island.

There are two types of sesame oil, light (made by pressing raw seeds) and dark (made from hulled sesame seeds that have been toasted prior to pressing). For Asian cooking, you want to buy the dark oil, which you'll find in Asian markets; don't buy the lighter oil that health food stores sell.

Asian sesame oil (toasted).

Sesame oil isn't often used as the main cooking oil, though it does have a high smoke point. This oil can take the heat, but the nutty flavor makes it better suited to use as a seasoning towards the middle or end of cooking, or in marinades.

Stored at room temperature in your pantry, sesame oil will last for up to a year after it's opened, but, like all nut-based products, it can turn rancid if kept for too long. This is one condiment that I prefer to buy in small bottles; it's a bit more expensive, but I never have to throw out oil that's gone bad.

Beef teriyaki skewers make popular party appetizers.

Beef teriyaki skewers

My favorite birthday menu always includes Chinese restaurant dishes, like these skewers. This time I tried a shortcut, by using some thin-sliced beef from the market, but the skewers were a bit tough. Next time I'm sticking with my original method; buy a piece of lean flank steak, freeze it for 15-20 minutes, and slice thin, across the grain. Serves 6.


Bamboo skewers
1 lb lean steak (flank steak is my favorite), thinly sliced across the grain
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup agave nectar
1-1/2 cups dark soy sauce
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp shao hsing wine
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp ground (dried) ginger


Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes or more (you can do this right before you're ready to cook).

Place meat in a zip-loc bag.

Add remaining ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until garlic is chopped and ingredients are well combined. Pour into the bag, press out the air, and seal. Massage the bag to coat the meat. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.

Thread strips onto the skewers, and discard the marinade. Cook skewers on the grill, on a stove top griddle, or under the broiler for 3-4 minutes.

More teriyaki:
Shrimp teriyaki, from The Perfect Pantry
Teriyaki tofu wraps, from The Perfect Pantry
Teriyaki chicken, from No Recipes
Teriyaki tofu and vegetable kabobs, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen

Beef teriyaki skewers are always popular at parties.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Happy Birthday!

I like to stay home too - grilled veggie hot dogs and baked beans are what I've had for the past 5 years or so. :)

Teriyaki sauce is such a beautiful sauce. I really love it in my cooking. I always cook teriyaki salmon which is very delicious. I'm sure your beef skewers taste very very delicious.

I love the sound of this! So many flavorful ingredients in the marinade that you can imagine how great it must taste. Maybe some year you can come to Utah for your birthday and I can cook this for you!!

Happy birthday to my favourite pantry keeper. Love the skewers, sad that you live so far away from a decent Chinese restaurant that you have to do your own birthday cooking, but if it helps, it's what I'd do too, even though there are plenty of great places nearby. xo

Firstly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

secondly, the beef teriyaki recipe is very welcome right now...for some reason Ive been wanting to eat teriyaki for weeks and so this is the perfect excuse to rid myself of the teriaki nag :)

Happy Birthday Lydia!! Hope it was a great day. And if this was your dinner, I'd say you did okay! :)

Happy Birthday! I usually do my beef skewers with flank too!

Yes I prefer to make it at home too. The teriyaki in some take outs is gross--what kind of meat is that that they use?
I love to grill these with pineapple.
I hope your birthday was very good to you.

these looks absolutely scrumptious...might just have to give these a try in the next few weeks! i do a great, easy and yummy recipe of the week on my site! maybe i'll borrow one of yours and link to it to send some additional readers your way...your site is GREAT!

These turned out amazing looking and I know what you mean by having to plan meals out, it's just easier to cook some times.

I'm with you! Sometimes, it's a lot more fun (and relaxing) to stay in and celebrate at home. The food is usually better too. ;)

The beef skewers look terrific! I'll have to give these a try, using thinly sliced flank steak, of course.

Hope your birthday was fabulous!

Happy Birthday! These look drool-worthy!

This is my husband's very favorite Chinese restaurant dish. I cannot wait to try making it at home. He is going to be elated!


Happy BDay: go Caps!

easy apps? yeah, I'm in, all in.

My fave easy app: layer a basil leaf, good sliced salame, chunk of creamy cheese (brie, camembert, camenzola), piece of cherry tomato. Pull the basil and sausage around; secure all with a toothpick thru the tomato's skin and into the cheese. Delicious and attractive "mouthfuls".

Robust and meaty for "cavemen", flavorful and textured for "foodies"; can be made hours ahead, can sit at room temp, minimal prep and clean up for me. Oh, and low carb, for those who care about that.

Mmm, those look so good! I love sesame oil.

Happy Happy Happy Birthday! Thanks for all your great work. LOVE seeing other's pantries. One of these days I'll send mine in, but that would involve some serious organizing, that only occurs when I have some other dreaded, very big, time sensitive project to tackle.

Thanks, everyone, for birthday wishes. I love knowing that I'm not the only one who likes to celebrate birthdays at home with comfort food. I have to admit that when we lived in Boston, just ten minutes from Chinatown, take-out was the birthday meal of choice. Now, I'd rather eat my own cooking!

Jill, we'd love to see your pantry...

Sounds like the perfect birthday celebration! Looking foward to more appetizers - it's my favorite course! Good to know about the shelf-life on sesame oil. I like to keep some around, but sometime I end up with bottles that remind me of something from an archeological dig.

Happy Birthday; mine was Friday and we *did* go out, but tonight my giggling gal pals come over and we cook. So much fun...I do most of the cooking, but they set the table with flowers that they bring and they clean up the kitchen before they leave. In between we cook, drink wine and laugh a lot. Hope yours was as much fun as mine will be tonight.

Glad you had a nice day Lydia. Thanks for the info on Sesame oil keeping 12 months. I didn't know that.

Happy birthday, Lydia!

In Hawaii, we eat these beef teriyaki skewers as a side dish for saimin. The best ones have a little bit of fat still on them.

Thanks for the link back for the 3 cups chicken recipe!

TW, I buy fairly small bottles of sesame oil and replenish frequently, so I avoid the rancidity problem.

Janet, love the idea of girls' night out birthdays!

Barbara, Nate: thanks. Birthdays are swell, aren't they?

A belated Happy Birthday, Lydia! The beef skewers look fab and sesame oil, part of my pantry...something few of us would have had a decade ago.

Happy birthday, Lydia!!! I'm glad you got to celebrate it in the way you like, although it's too bad that there isn't a really good Chinese restaurant nearby.

I love the way that sesame oil can transform a dish - my favorite uses are in hot and sour soup and in cold sesame noodles. Your beef teriyaki looks delicious - and the close-up is gorgeous.

As for pre-sliced beef... I think the cuts of meat aren't as good, and the slicing isn't nearly as fine as when you do it yourself. (I still have trouble figuring out which way the grain goes, though.)

Happy Belated Birthday! I am late on commenting and catching up on reading because my husband's birthday is Jan 17th and I gutted and renovated the living room last week for his present!
However now that is done and I think I will make these skewers! Love sesame oil - it is like 'instant Asian' flavor!

I love these beef skewers and the sauce. I tried them with short ribs. Thanks!

I keep my sesame oil in a squeeze bottle so I can use a few drops at a time, however, usually a drop runs down the side of the bottle and forms a sticky residue. I haven't found anything that will dissolve it! Do you know of a good cleaner to use on sesame oil?

Great pictures and recipe! I did a blog about skewer meals and linked one of your pictures to this recipe!

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