1½ pounds boneless sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and gristle
½ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot chile paste, optional, see note
8 whole scallions, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 head Boston lettuce, rinsed and drained
Cut the beef, with the grain, into long strips about 1½ inches wide, and place in a bowl.
Mix together the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, garlic, sesame oil, pepper and chile paste (if using). Add one-third of this mixture to the beef, tossing lightly to coat. Cover and let marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or longer in the refrigerator.
Mix the remaining one-third of the mixture with the scallions, and place in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring often. Set aside.
Separate the lettuce leaves, trim the stems, and lightly flatten the leaves with the broad side of a knife or a cleaver. Arrange in a serving bowl.
Prepare a medium-hot grill. Remove the meat from the marinade, discard the marinade, and grill the meat 3 to 4 minutes per side, until medium-rare. Alternatively, cook on a lightly oiled, very hot skillet for about 2 minutes per side. Cut the meat across the grain into thin slices. Reheat the sauce with the scallions, and pour into a serving bowl.
To eat: Each diner arranges several meat slices on a lettuce leaf, spoons some of the sauce on top, folds the leaf over, and eats the bundle with the fingers.
Cook's note: Hot chile paste is sold in many supermarkets, sometimes as "chile paste with garlic."
"A Spoonful of Ginger" by Nina Simonds (2011 Knopf)