When living in Asia, I LOVE eating at Pepper Lunch, a Japanese chain restaurant whose most popular dish is a hot skillet plate with a mound of rice and corn in the middle and very thinly cut shabu-shabu beef sizzling around it, topped with lots of pepper and a runny egg if desired (click here for a picture). While we are lucky enough to have one here in the South Bay, it’s just barely far enough away that I don’t feel like driving there (plus it’s kinda divey here… no idea why, it’s not like that overseas). Thankfully, my area is chock full of Japanese markets where finding shabu-shabu is a snap, so I make my own version. It’s very quick and way more flavorful than my above description. As testament to that, know that when I make Pepper Lunch for dinner, there is no talking at the dinner table. Just the sound of Nevan going “MMMMMmmm” after every bite.
After some researching other homemade versions of the famous Pepper Lunch skillet plate, I tossed together my own recipe. Many Pepper Lunch lovers are sticklers for the sauces they make there, but personally I just prefer it with soy sauce. If you’re interested in reproducing their famous sauces, this page looks promising.
My home variation obviously takes into account my preferences. Per person, you will need:
1/2 cup cooked white Japanese rice
A pat of butter
Several tbsp of chopped green onions
A good amount of chopped cilantro (not in original recipe)
Approximately 1/4 cup frozen corn or boiled and cut off the cob
1 clove of garlic, sliced or chopped (not in original recipe)
However much shabu-shabu sliced kobe/wagyu/angus beef you’d like
Lots of salt and pepper
Some Thai roasted chili paste (or whatever favorite chili sauce you have)
Cook the rice. Make a little mound and put your pat of butter on top to melt. In a hot pan, heat up a little oil and throw your corn and garlic in until hot and cooked through. Place on top of the rice. Fry your egg and place on top of the corn. Season your beef with plenty of salt and pepper and quickly cook through, being careful not to overcook. Place that on or around your rice/corn (I usually throw it all on a cutting board and roughly chop it up just to make it easier to eat). Top with green onions and cilantro and lots more ground pepper, and splash a little soy sauce on there if desired. Put a spoonful of chili paste on the side and chow the hell down.