Venison Tataki Nigiri with Truffled Ponzu

Venison Tataki Nigiri with Truffled Ponzu

by Larry White, The Wild Game Gourmet

Tataki is a very popular Japanese dish that consists of beef (in this case venison) or fish that is seared over a high heat and leaving the center rare. This method is perfect for lean venison which benefits from cooking on the rare side.

To take things away from the traditional route I serve it atop of sushi rice, along with crunchy potato sticks and a truffled ponzu sauce. If you’ve never had the flavor of truffles paired with potatoes or venison, you’re in for a special treat.


Venison Tataki Marinade: 
• 1 pound - venison (backstrap or sirloin)
• 2 cups - apple juice
• 1/2 cup - soy sauce
• 1/2 tsp- fish sauce
• 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
• 1/2 jalapeño (thinly sliced)
• 1/2 - red onion (chopped)
• 1 tsp - sesame oil
• 1 tsp - ground black pepper

Truffled Ponzu:
• 4 tablespoons - soy sauce
• 1 tsp - truffle oil
• 8 tablespoons - rice wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons- lemon juice
• 2 tablespoon- ginger (minced)

Crunchy Potato Sticks:
• 1 russet potato (cut into matchsticks)
• High smoke point oil for frying
• Salt and pepper to taste

Sushi Rice:
• 2 cups - short grain rice
• 2 cups - water
• 2 tablespoons - rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons - sugar
• 1 tablespoon - salt


1. Combine the venison and marinade ingredients in a container or gallon freezer bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and no more than 24.

2. Combine the ponzu ingredients and refrigerate until needed. *Can be made the day before.

3. Cut the potato into thin matchsticks, place in a container, cover with water and refrigerate for at least and hour. Pour out the water and rinse the potatoes with water again. Dry the potatoes off with paper towels and fry at 330 degrees until golden brown. Drain on papertowels and season with salt & pepper. Once cool, they can be stored in an airtight container overnight on the kitchen counter. (You can buy the potato sticks at your local grocery, I won’t judge you).

4. For the rice:

• Place the rice in a bowl and cover with water, swirl the rice and drain. Repeat this 3-4 times until the water is clear.
• Place the rice and the two cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once it simmers lower the heat to the lowest setting and cover with a lid.
• Cook for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and keep covered for 15 minutes.
• Combine the sugar, vinegar and salt and microwave for 45 seconds.
• Transfer the rice to a non-reactive bowl and fold in the warmed mixture.
• Cool to room temperature before forming into nigiri shapes.

5. While the rice is cooling. Pull the venison from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature for one hour. Dry off the meat with papertowels and sear in a medium-high heat pan, while making sure to leave meat rare. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes and slice about 1/8” thick.

6. Form the rice into 2 inch long minature egg shapes (feel free to google how to shape nigiri).

7. Top with the venison, crispy potatoes and drizzle with the truffled ponzu.

COOKS NOTE: Feel free to get relaxed and turn this into an epic rice bowl instead of making nigiri. Top with peanuts and fresh cilantro.... It‘s delicious!

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