A taste of Japan with an Aussie spin

5th August 2021 | Eativity editors

With the Tokyo Olympics wrapping up this Sunday, many of us who are stuck in lockdown are wondering what the hell we’re going to do with ourselves until the Paralympics kick off on August 24. Baking sourdough is so Lockdown 2020, and climbing the walls might release a bit of pent-up frustration, but it does a real number on the paintwork. During times of trouble, our motto here at Eativity is: “when in doubt, eat good food”. As such, we’re bringing you these tempting meals that give a nod to both the Olympic host nation and our own Aussie Olympic legends. Who’ve been racking up medals like nobody’s business… These meals have a taste of Japan but use Australian beef. They’re just the ticket for adding a touch of international flair to a long and tedious lockdown evening.

A taste of Japan: Japanese glazed meatballs

Japanese glazed meatballs with pickled vegetables

Recipe courtesy of Australian Beef
Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes

You’ll need:

600g lean beef mince (makes 24 meatballs)
1 tbsp soy sauce
Clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp finely grated ginger
¼ cup panko crumbs
270g soba noodles
Bamboo skewers, for cooking

For the glaze:

¼ cup sweet soy
2 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup mirin
1 tsp sesame oil

For the pickled vegetables:

½ cup rice wine vinegar
4 sprigs rosemary
1 Lebanese cucumber, roughly chopped on the diagonal
4 pink radish, washed and sliced
1 bok choy, quartered lengthways
1 long red chilli, slit in half lengthways but kept whole at the stem


1. Place beef mince, soy, garlic, ginger and panko crumbs in a large bowl and mix until combined. Roll into 24 meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes. Drain and closely thread 3 meatballs onto each skewer.

2. Place chopped vegetables in a large heatproof bowl. Place rice vinegar, a pinch of salt flakes and 2 sprigs of rosemary in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and pour vinegar over vegetables, turn to coat and then cover with a lid. Leave to pickle for 5-10 minutes for crunchy pickles. Drain before serving.

3. Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl and keep the remaining 2 rosemary sprigs for brushing your glaze onto the meatballs after cooking.

4. Drizzle meatballs with a little oil or spray with oil spray and then place on a pre-heated BBQ on medium to high heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 5 minutes. Brush meatballs with glaze using the rosemary skewers while on the BBQ, and brush with extra glaze to serve.

5. Cook soba noodles according to packet directions and drain. Serve skewers with pickled vegetables and soba noodles.


1. When turning meatballs on the BBQ, use a palette knife or metal spatula to help you turn them, as they have a tendency to stick, and the bamboo skewers get hot.
2. Meatballs can be made ahead of time and frozen. Bake from frozen at 180°C fan-forced for 15-20 minutes. Glaze in the final 5 minutes.
3. You can also make this recipe with lamb or veal mince.

A taste of Japan: Japanese beef casserole

Japanese beef casserole

This dish has been created using a master casserole recipe. Once you know the basics, you can switch ingredients to make a huge variety of casseroles, curries and stews.

Recipe courtesy of Cleaver’s Organic
Serves 6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 3 hours

You’ll need:

1kg Cleaver’s Organic beef chuck steak, cut into 3cm pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
500ml beef stock
2 tbsp plain flour
400g can diced tomatoes
120g spinach
2 tbsp curry powder
2cm piece ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 apple, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan-forced). Place beef in a large snap-lock bag or dish, add half the oil, season and mix well.

2. Heat a large ovenproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in 2 or 3 batches, setting beef aside on a plate after each batch.

3. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Sprinkle in flour and curry powder, stir until vegetables are coated. Gradually pour in stock, stirring well. Return beef to pan with any juices, plus sauces. Stir until mixture boils.

5. Cover casserole dish, place in the oven and cook for 2½ hours, or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if necessary.

6. Remove casserole dish from oven. Add grated apple, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes.

7. Serve with rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.