For those of you that are familiar with Japanese fast food, you’ve probably heard of Yoshinoya. It’s a fast food chain that specializes in rice bowls and they’re particularly well known for their gyudon (Japanese beef and rice bowl).
This popularity was elevated to cult status when the Japanese government banned American beef imports due to the mad-cow scare. Being a fast food chain, they couldn’t afford to buy Japanese beef and continue selling the bowls for $3, so they halted the sale of their signature dish and replaced it with butadon (pork donburi). Their loyal fans where crushed and there was much hullabaloo over the whole episode until the menu item was restored a few years ago.
Honestly, I don’t get the appeal. True, it’s cheap, but there were people flying from Tokyo to LA to have a bowl during the beef-outtage, so that argument doesn’t really hold. Here’s my rendition of the popular dish. It’s truly as simple to make as it looks and yet it makes for a satisfying meal.
It’s important that you use a tender cut of beef with a lot of marbling. Since this is supposed to be a cheap dish, I pick up packs of “kiriotoshi” which are the odds and ends of high quality beef that’s left after they slice the beef for sukiyaki and shabu shabu. If you don’t happen to live near a Japanese grocery, you can semi-freeze a piece of beef and use a sharp knife to cut it across the grain into thin slices.
In other news, Kang over at London Eater has tagged me for a meme. I don’t participate in memes, but since he was nice enough to tag me and because he has a great collection of London restaurant reviews (which I’m sure to use the next time I’m over there) y’all should check out London Eater.
1 tsp oil
1/2 onion sliced thin
1/2 lbs marbled beef sliced thinly across the grain
2 Tbs mirin
2 Tbs sake (or water)
1 Tbs + 1 tsp soy sauce
2 tablespoons cooked and shelled edamame (soy beans)
Combine the mirin, water and soy sauce in small ramekin. Cook some rice.
When the rice is done and steaming, heat the pan over medium high heat until hot. Add the oil then stir-fry the onions until wilted, but not caramelized.
Add the beef and brown, then add the sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer until most (but not all) of the liquid is gone.
Serve over rice drizzling the sauce over the rice and top with the edamame for color.