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Hamburg Steak is like a single serving meatloaf. With big juicy patties glazed in a sweet and savory sauce, this is one of the most popular home cooked meals in Japan.

Japanese Hamburg Steak (ハンバーグ Hambāgu)

Japanese Hamburg Steak, or Hambāgu(ハンバーグステーキ) as it's known in Japan, is like a single serving meatloaf with a tender, juicy patty that's loaded with flavor and glazed with a sweet and savory sauce. For my version, I finish it off by deglazing the pan with red wine to make an umami-rich sauce that's the perfect compliment to the big beefy round of seasoned hamburger.
Course Entree
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword bento, easy, hambaagu, hambagu, hamburg-steak, meat-patty, meatball, meatloaf, salisbury-steak
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Beef
Diet Dairy-Free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 patties
Calories 316 kcal

Ingredients

For patty

  • 200 grams onion (finely diced)
  • 4 grams garlic (finely minced)
  • 700 grams ground beef
  • 140 grams soft tofu
  • 50 grams panko (~1 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For sauce

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoon chunou sauce (or a 50:50 mix of Worcestershire:ketchup)
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Metric - US Imperial

Instructions

  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.
    Onions and garlic, which have been steamed in the microwave before adding to the Hamburg Steak mixture.
  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.
    Meat mixture in a bowl for making Japanese Hamburg Steak
  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.
    Shaping the best Hamburg Steak Patties.
  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.
    Frying Japanese-style Hamburg Steak (Hambagu) in a pan.
  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.
    Browned Japanese single serving meatloaf in a pan.
  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.
    Steaming Hambagu in a pan with red wine.
  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.
    The sweet and savory sauce for Hamburg Steak.
  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.
    The best glazed Hamburg Steak recipe.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Japanese Hamburg Steak (ハンバーグ Hambāgu)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 316 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 451mg19%
Potassium 406mg12%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 80IU2%
Vitamin C 3.2mg4%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.