Hamburger Steak or Hambagu (ハンバーグ) we call it in Japan, is a very popular dish both at home and restaurants. I think it is one of the most popular side dishes in bento as well. If you ask kids what is their favorite bento ingredient, many will probably say immediately “Hambagu!” 🙂 To me Hambagu reminds me of my childhood. My mom was very good at making delicious Hambagu in her kitchen. She made some variations time to time but her Hambagu was almost always with demi-glace red wine sauce. Later I came to Tokyo to study and had Teriyaki Hambagu with a fried egg on top for the first time. Wow, it was different from my mom’s but very tasty! I also like the very Japanese version of Hambagu with grated daikon and Japanese soy sauce seasonings as well. It is originally a western dish but it is something I am looking forward to eating in Japan as well. A famous meat shop in my home town Kanazawa makes wonderful Hambagu patties. They are not cooked, you can buy this seasoned and formed patty and cook it at home later. It is THE MEAT SHOP’S PROUD PRODUCT using generously the Japanese high quality beef from Matsuzaka. When the ingredients are at so high level of quality, it just can not go wrong!
Busy business districts in Tokyo all have good lunch joints for Hambagu. When you come to Japan and you like meat, I recommend you to try one of the lunch set menues with Hambagu and sticky Japanese rice and a bowl of miso soup all served on one tray. If you are joined by a bunch of busy Japanese businessmen and office ladies, it is a good sign. Yes you are eating an authentic Japanese Style Hambagu Steak.
* Ingredients * for 4 large Hambagu steaks
Beef ground meat 200g
Pork ground meat 200g
Panko 1/2 cup
Milk 3 table spoons
Salt 1 tea spoon
Pepper and Nutmeg a little bit
Flour and salad oil
Sauce (red wine, ketchup, tonkatsu sauce, mustard)
1. Mince the onion as small as possible. If the bits are large it does not mix with the ground meat well and the air will come in to crack the patty. I use my electric food processor to mince onion so well when making Hambagu.
2. Heat a frypan, add some salad oil and sautee the onion for 15 minutes over medium heat. It maybe a long and boring process but hope you can manage. Turn off the heat, transfer the onion onto a plate and let it cool completely about 30 minutes.
3. While you wait, mix panko and milk together in a small cup.
4. When the onion is cooled, mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Place a wet kitchen cloth on a table and put the large bowl on it (so that it won’t slip). Use your hand and mix well. When all the ingredients are mixed well, you go to the next step to knead. It should be like a well-combined soft meat dough. Just imagine your hand is a mixer and try to distribute the wet panko, egg and onion into every corner of the dough. Mix in all ingredients together so that you get one whole dough that is so well incorporated.
5. My Hambagu meat dough is very soft. When it is done you can wash your hand. Apply some salad oil on both your palms. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal potions and form them like an oval-shaped patty about 1cm in thickness. Throw each patty back and forth in your hands to release the air inside. Give a thin coat of flour and use your finger to make a small indentation in the middle.
6. Heat a frypan over medium high heat, add some salad oil. When both the pan and the oil are hot place the patties and fry. Give them a good crisp brown crust on both sides. It probably needs to be fried 2 or 3 minutes each side. Keep your eyes on them and do not burn!!
When the both sides are nice and crisp, turn the heat down and cook for 4-5 minutes through the meat. Right before it is done, turn up the heat and pour in 50cc red wine and put a lid on. Wine-steam for 2 minutes.
7. Take the hambagu steak on a plate. Mix 2 table spoons of the meat juice (and red wine in it), 1 table spoon of ketchup, 1 table spoon of tonkatsu sauce and 1 tea spoon of mustard to make a sauce. Bon Appetite! 🙂