Hamburg Steak (Hambāgu)

Hamburg Steak (Hambāgu)This Japanese take on Salisbury Steak is tender, moist and flavorful. Enrobed in a tangy sweet sauce, it makes for a delightful weeknight meal, and the leftovers (if you have any) are perfect for a bento box lunch.


  • CourseEntree
  • CuisineJapanese
  • Yield8 patties
  • Cooking Time10 minutes
  • Preperation Time15 minutes
  • Total Time25 minutes


For patty
onion (finely diced)
200 grams
garlic (finely minced)
4 grams
ground beef
700 grams
soft tofu
140 grams
panko (~1 cup)
50 grams
1 large
oyster sauce
2 tablespoons
ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon
ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon
vegetable oil
2 teaspoons
For sauce
dry red wine
1/2 cup
1/3 cup
chunou sauce (or a 50:50 mix of Worcestershire:ketchup)
3 tablespoons
oyster sauce
1 tablespoon


  1. Put the chopped onions and garlic into a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave the onions at 800 watts for 4 minutes. They should end up soft and be just starting to brown. Leave the onions covered and allow them to cool down enough to handle.
  2. When the onions have cooled a bit, add the beef, tofu, panko, egg, oyster sauce, nutmeg, and black pepper. Put some food-safe gloves on and knead the mixture together until it is uniform in color and texture.
  3. Make eight oval patties about 1-inch thick, by tossing the meat back and forth between two cupped hands. This removes any air pockets that will cause your Hamburg Steak to fall apart when you cook it. If you're making the patties ahead of time, or plan to freeze them, be sure to place the patties on a layer of parchment paper. Otherwise, you can form them and put them straight into the pan.
  4. Add the vegetable oil to a large pan with a lid and heat over medium heat until hot. You'll get more flavor in your sauce if you use an uncoated pan, however, it will make it harder to flip without breaking them, chose your pan carefully. 

  5. Add the patties to the pan without overcrowding it. I usually do this in 2 batches of 4. Fry them on use side until they've formed a dark brown crust.
  6. When they've browned on one side, use a spatula to flip them over carefully and brown the other side. The patties should be well browned on both sides, but they don't need to be cooked through all the way since we're going to steam them. Transfer them to a plate.
  7. Once you've fried all the patties, drain off any excess oil with a paper towel, being careful to leave the caramelized beef juices on the bottom of the pan. Put all eight patties back into the pan and then add the wine and cover with a lid. Steam these for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid and transfer your hambagu back onto a plate. Add the ketchup, oyster sauce, and chunou sauce and stir briskly to emulsify the sauce.
  9. Once the sauce is nice and thick, add the patties back in one at a time, rolling each one around to glaze it with the sauce.