Steak tartare first came from Mongolia, and it is usually served as an appetiser to a meal. The dish is made out of raw minced beef (and in some countries, raw minced horse meat) infused with an abundance of seasonings.
The name “steak tartare” was derived from the longer version of the name, called “Steack à la tartare”, which can be translated to “served with tartare”. Previously, it was called the “steack à l’Americaine” which is a version of the steak that served without tartar sauce. These days, there is little to no distinction between the steaks that are served with or without tartar sauce.
For those that are unfamiliar with consuming raw meat, the steak tartare will provide an experience unlike any other by melting in your mouth once consumed, with the taste of all of the seasonings infused together. There is a balance between the savoury and spiced flavours that will leave you wanting for more.
What is Steak Tartare?
The main ingredient of the steak tartare is the raw ground beef or even horse meat. The dish is usually served with a wide array of ingredients, such as pepper, capers, Worcestershire sauce, onions, shallots and many other kinds of seasonings, sometimes with sesame oil and pine nuts in some recipes.
The dish is made by mixing all of the seasonings together and then refrigerating the meat with the well-blended seasoning to allow the flavours to infuse together. In general, it is a seasoned raw meat dish that is served cold with a side of carbohydrates such as rye bread or even french fries.
History of Steak Tartare
It is believed that the steak tartare has a connection with the Tatars that were from Tartary (currently known as Mongolia). The Tatars were known to consume raw meat and have a longstanding tradition of mincing tough meat from horses and camels, to make it fit for human consumption. The meat will then be mixed with eggs and/or milk.
The idea of minced raw meat has since spread across the Slavic regions due to intrusions from the Mongols and also by the Russians after it was introduced by the Golden Horde in Moscow. Today, the origins of the steak tartare are strongly associated with the Tatars people from a long time ago.
Types of Steak Tartare
The popularity of the steak tartare has resulted in the spread across many continents, that has since had their own versions of the steak tartare. Across the lands in Belgium, their version of the steak tartare is called the filet américain.
The dish is made with raw beef combined with fresh herbs and capers, with french fries along the side.The tartare aller-retour is a lesser-known version of the steak tartare from France, which uses raw meat that is lightly scorched along the edges.
The Swedish version of steak tartare is called the råbiff, which is composed of raw meat with raw onions, raw egg yolk, capers and diced beetroots. All the way in South America, the Chileans have created the Crudo alemán, which is made with minced raw beef atop a slice of white bread, seasoned with onions, lemon juice and special sauce.
Up north in the United States, their version of the steak tartare uses raw ground sirloin, rye bread seasoned with salt, pepper and chopped onions. In Korea, yukhoe uses horse meat and it is sliced into ribbons for easier consumption. Then, the meat is mixed with sesame oil, chunks of raw garlic and pine nuts served on a bed of thinly sliced Korean pear.
Where to find Steak Tartare in Malaysia
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