Meat Rollups (Nikumaki)

Nikumaki is easy to make and our whole family loves them. You can use any vegetables that you want and it’s a great alternative to stir frying. Give these beef and vegetable rollups a try the next time you are in the mood for a savory, veggie loaded meal.

Japanese cooking uses a lot of thin sliced beef and pork. You can use any thin sliced uncooked meat to make this – beef, pork belly, or bacon. The meat needs to be cut in very thin strips. I use asparagus, enoki mushrooms and carrots in this recipe, but substitute potatoes, onions, eggplant or green pepper if you would like. It’s important to parboil the veggies before cooking- you want to use cooked vegetables in this recipe because the rollups cook very quickly.

The sauce can be purchased at any grocery store or you can make your own. See the notes, below, for some ideas on how to make your own perfect sauce.

Meat Rollups (Niku Maki)

These delicious meat rollups make a great entree for lunch or dinner.  My daughter loves there with potatoes, I prefer green veggies or mushrooms.  These can also be prepared in the oven or on a BBQ if you prefer not to fry them. The recipe will make 9 large rollups or 12 small ones.  Serves four.

10 mins 10 mins Serves 4
PREP 10 mins
COOKING 10 mins
YIELD Serves 4


  • 1/2 lb thinly sliced beef (225g)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 6 large asparagus spears
  • 1 bunch of enoki mushrooms
  • 1 cup yakiniku sauce
  •  1 TBSP Cooking oil


  • Wash and peel carrot, remove ends and slice into 2” spears
  • Wash asparagus spears, slice off the bottom of each spear, and cut each piece into 3 equal length slices.

  • Wash enoki, cut off bottom, and break into clusters about 1/2 inch in diameter.

  • Take a slice of meat and roll it around a slice of asparagus, a slice of carrot and a cluster of enoki.  Using your bare hand, squeeze the bundle together so that the need adheres firmly to the vegetables.  Make sure there are vegetables protruding from both ends of the rollup.  Repeat, feeling free to vary the amount and type of veggies in each roll.  Continue until there is no beef remaining.

  • Heat up the cooking oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.  Fry the Rollups on one side for about 1-2 minutes until the beef is browned.  Turn the meat using tongs or chopsticks.

  • Continue to fry at medium high turning occasionally until the meat is browned on all sides.
  • Pour the sauce over the meat.

  • Cover and turn the heat down to medium.  Steam for 3 minutes, uncover, turn the meat, cover again and steam for three more minutes.

  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve while hot.


If you don’t have a favorite yakiniku sauce, try this recipe…

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 TBSP olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined.  Use immediately or seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


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