Japanese Hamburg Steak (Hambagu) ハンバーグ Recipe

Hambagu photo

Photo by Mike Saechang

Every once in a while, I have the pleasure of enjoying someone else’s cooking. In this post, I will share with you a simple recipe from my good friend, Kaori, who happens to be a killer cook. Whenever I get the chance to cook in her kitchen, I am in heaven. There is always so much great stuff in there and I am inspired. Anyways, one night she invited me over to have dinner with her. She had some ground beef and pork defrosting in her fridge and a craving for Hamburg steak. Are you ready to make Hamburg Steak? Let’s cook!

You will need:

  • 1 lb, ground beef
  • 1 lb, ground pork
  • 1/2 a white onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp, panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 egg

This dish is gonna get your hands wet, so wash them well. Start by finely dicing the onions. Then saute the onions and the crushed garlic in a pan with a little oil until they are transluscent. Once they are done, pick out the garlic and toss it away. Set the onions aside to cool for a bit before you start mixing the meat.

Once the onions are cool enough, you can add it to a large mixing bowl. Add the beef and pork, the egg, panko and some salt and pepper to season. Now roll up your sleeves because it’s time to get intimate with your food. Get your hands in that mixture and really blend it together well, I mean really well. Make sure the 2 meats are mixed until the whole thing is one uniform color. Also, working that meat ensures the tenderness of the finished steak. When that’s done, you’re ready to form the patties.

Before you start forming the patties, you have to toss the meat from hand to hand, back and forth. The reason for this is because you need to get rid of any air pockets in the meat from when you were mixing. Now start to shape you patties to a nice uniform size. Look at the meaty part of your palm (the heel). That’s about how thick you want to go. When you form, make the center of the patty a little thinner than the edges (like a big dimple). This will make the center cook at the same rate as the edges.

Once the patties are formed, heat a couple Tbsp of oil in a pan and cook those patties. Brown the one side, then flip after about 2 or 3 minutes. Give the other side a minute then add a couple Tbsp of water to the pan and throw a cover on it. The steam will finish the cooking. When the water has evaporated, take off the lid. Pierce the patties with a toothpick (or whatever you got). If the juices are clear, you’re done!

That’s it! For a sauce, Kaori mixed a little ketchup and tonkatsu sauce. She then put that mixture into the pan with the juices left over in the pan and warmed the whole thing through. If you don’t have tonkatsu sauce, you can craft your own with ketchup, worchestershire and a little soy. Put the sauce over the Hamburg steak and serve with steamed rice and some fresh tomato slices. It’s amazing what a little love can do to some simple ingredients. Watch the video, enjoy and most importantly, have fun in the kitchen!


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