Hambagu is a Japanese hamburger steak. So many countries eat Hamburg steak with a bun or roll but in Japan, we just eat it by itself and of course the flavor is very Japanese. So juicy and it will melt in your mouth!
This was one of my favorite dinner dishes when I was little and it is still one of my favorites. I used to make Hambagu with my mom to impress the rest of the family.
Everyone loves it and the process for making Hambagu is fun for kids.
What is Hambagu? ( meaning )
Hambāgu (ハンバーグ) or Hambāgu Steak (ハンバーグステーキ) is a Japanese hamburger steak. This is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. Yes, it did not originate in Japan. The big difference between other country’s hamburger steak and ours is that we serve with rice rather than buns or rolls.
Also, Hambagu is on the menu at lots of restaurants. Every restaurant has different ways of preparing the dish, with lots of different tastes. In this recipe, I will introduce the quick and easy recipe that I have been using!
Variations of Japanese Hamburger Steak
As I mentioned, a lot of varieties of Hambagu exist.
- Teriyaki Hambagu
- Cheese-in Hambagu
- Demi-glacé Hambagu
- Tomato and Miso Stewed Hambagu
- Wafu Hambagu (Japanese versions of western-style hamburger)
Once you know the basics on how to make Hambagu, then you can make your own original dishes with it!
Use of Both Ground Beef and Ground Pork
This is the tricky part. Hambagu is made from both ground beef and ground pork. But I know it’s difficult to find this combination in the states. There is a mixed package in grocery stores in Japan we call it Aibiki Niku(合いびき肉).
So when you cook, you have to make the mix by yourself. You can do the beef and pork 2:1 or 3:1(I recommend 2:1). Also, we often use this Aibiki Niku ratio for Menchi Katsu, Hambagu and Spaghetti Meat Sauce recipes.
6 Tips for making the best Hamburger Steak
Here are the 6 tips for making the juicy and tasty Hambagu!
Tip1 : The Ground Beef and Pork Ratio is 2:1
The meat we use for Hambagu is mixed ground beef and ground pork, to get the desired greasy but juicy flavor. The ratio is 2:1 (beef : pork) but you can change to your favorite ratio as you cook more. If you would like to have softer Hambagu, adding more ground pork helps.
Tip2 : Sauté or microwave onion
Before mixing up everything, you sauté or microwave the onion completely.
- If you sauté your onion, sauté with low-medium heat for 5-6 minutes until they get a little brown and soft.
- If you microwave your onion, microwave for 1 minute and you’ll get soft onion.
The cooked onion will add sweetness to Hambagu!
Tip3 : Cool down the onion before mixing-in
Before you put the onion in a bowl to mix with the meat, please cool down the onion so that it is easy to mix everything together.
Tip4 : Toss the meat hand to hand
To reduce air inside the Hambagu, you toss the meat mixture from hand to hand like you’re playing catch with a ball. Do this a couple times in order to make sure the Hambagu maintains its shape and won’t crack.
Tip5 : Dent before you cook
When you make Hambagu, please put a small dent in the center of the meat. This helps because Hambagu will expand as it cooks.
Tip6 : Check if the Hambagu is done
To check if the Hambagu is cooked perfectly, use a stick like in the below image. If the oil comes out clear then it is done but if the oil is white then you need to cook more.
Most often asked FAQ for Hambagu
There are 3 questions people often asked about Hambagu.
Q: Can you keep it as prep meal?
A: Yes, you can. To do that, cool down the Hambagu, wrap them individually with cling wrap, and then put them in a zip lock. In the freezer, it will be ok for a month. When you want to eat, please defrost in a microwave and add some sauce.
Q:What are the best sides for Hamburg?
Here are some ideas for Hambagu sides.
Q: Do you have recommendations for any other sauces?
Here are my ideas if you don’t want to/ can’t to make homemade Hambagu sauce.
How to Serve Hambagu
Here is the Japanese Hambagu serving!
We serve Hambagu with homemade sauce(I am going to share in the recipe) and some vegetables. When you eat you want to eat some rice too!
Similar Recipes to Japanese Hambagu on Oishi Book
- Tomato and Miso Stewed Hambagu
- Healthy Tofu Hambagu (豆腐ハンバーグ)
- Loco Moco (ロコモコ : A Hawaiian Style Bowl)
Japanese Hamburger Steak (Hambagu)
- 340 g ground beef & pork combination The good beef/pork ratio for Hambagu is 2:1 (beef 227g / pork 113g). 100% beef is ok but it will be a bit greasy and less juicy than combined meat.
- 1/2 large onion 1/2 is about about 115-135 g (Change depending on how many Serving you set)
- 5 Tablespoon panko HERE to buy
- 3 1/2 Tablespoon whole milk
- 1 large egg(s)
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 150 ml hot water
- Gather all the ingredients
- Chop the onion finely.
- There are 2 options to make the onion soft enough. Microwave for 1 minute or saute on medium heat until soft.
- While the onion is cooling, add the ground beef and pork in a bowl and add salt. Mix until the meat is well mixed and gets sticky.
- After the onion is cool, put the onion, panko, milk, egg, nutmeg and black pepper in the bowl and mix with the meat until everything is combined. You can use a silicone spatula/spoon to mix.
- Add egg, nutmeg, and black pepper and mix everything again.
- Divide the mixture into 4. If you prefer smaller pieces, you can divide it into more pieces.
- Toss it from one hand to the other. I do this 8-10 times in order to get rid of the air inside the meat. This way the Hambagu won't crack while cooking.
- Shape the Patties 0.8 inch (2cm) thick and make a dent in the middle of the patties.
To Cook Hambagu
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and place the meat patties in the pan with the dent side up. Cook until one side gets brown (about 2-3 minutes).
- Turn the patties over and cook the other side till brown.
- Add hot water to the pan. Cover with a lid and cook for 12 minutes with a low heat.
- Uncover and cook for another 3 minutes. Check if they are done by inserting a stick.*1
- Do not wash the frying pan! We will use it for the sauce.*2
To Make Sauce
- Gather all the ingredients
- We will use the same frying pan (without cleaning).*2
- Wipe the pan lightly and add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce in a bowl and mix. Then put to the pan and set to medium low heat.
- After mixing well, bring it to boil once and then turn the heat to low for 1 minute. Then, turn off the heat.*3
- On top of the Hambagu, put the homemade sauce. I also suggest that you put some vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, potatoes or whatever you prefer!
If You Want to Store
- You can store the Hambagu by wrapping the individual patties with cling wrap and putting them in a zip lock in the fridge. You can store them in the fridge for up to 2- 3 days and in the freezer for up to a month.