Friday, August 17, 2012

I cooked: Japanese Hamburg steak (Hambāgu)

"Mummy, I want to eat burger".

When little girl asks, little girl gets.

Hambāgu with runny egg

I found a great recipe for hambāgu, Japanese-style burger patties on No Recipes. Hambāgu, also known as hamburg steak is made with minced beef and filled with onions and garlic and seasoned with soy sauce and ketchup. It is a popular bento lunch box addition in Japan.

Marc of No Recipes also adds silken tofu to the patties, which gives it moisture and richness. I basically followed most of his recipe, except that I substituted the panko with a mixture of fresh breadcrumbs (see Step 1) and crackers and red wine with beef stock (I rarely cook with wine if I'm giving it to the kids).

I made 6 big patties for the adults and 3 mini ones for the kids and gosh, we finished it all ... no problems at all! Hubby and my dad had 2 portions each, and I could see that they would have liked more.. if there was any left ;P  I served it with some fresh cherry tomatoes, carrots as well as pickled cucumber, rice and a sunny-side up egg (with a runny yolk, of course).

The patties were moist, juicy and tender... so you can slice it effortlessly with a fork. The sauce was very flavorful with a tangy-sweet flavour. I'm already getting requests to make this again for lunch sometime soon. 

Hamburg Steak (Hambāgu)
Recipe adapted from No Recipes
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Makes 6-8 (depending on how big you make your patties)

1 large egg
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
450g minced beef
170g silken tofu
1 cup mixture of fresh breadcrumb and crushed crackers (2 slices bread and 5 crackers)
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp parsley, minced
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp cooking oil

For the sauce
1/2 cup beef stock (I just used diluted OXO cubes, you can use dry red wine if you prefer)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp tonkatsu sauce (I substituted with Worchestershire sauce)
1 tbso demi-glace (couldn't find this in KL so omitted)

1. In a frying pan over medium high heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and sauté half the onions until golden brown and caramelized. Allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Combine the beef, tofu, sautéd onions, raw onions, garlic, fresh breadcrumbs and crackers, egg, ketchup, oyster sauce, parsley, soy sauce and black pepper in a large bowl. Put some disposable gloves on and knead the mixture together until it is uniform in color and texture.

3. Add a little bit more oil to the frying pan that you fried the onions in and place over medium heat. Because the patties are on the soft side, you'll want to form them and add them directly to the pan. The patties should be around 1" thick.

4. Fry them until they've formed a dark brown crust on one side, about 1 1/2 minutes then use a spatula to carefully flip them over and brown the other side. Unless you have a very large pan, you won't be able to do them all at once, so fry 4 at a time and transfer them to a plate when they're browned on both sides. Don't worry if they're not cooked all the way through as they will finish cooking in the sauce.

5. After you've fried all the patties, drain off any excess oil (but don't wash the pan as the brown stuff is what will give your sauce flavor). Add the beef stock (or red wine) and boil until it's reduced by about half in volume. Add the ketchup, water, Worchestershire sauce, and demi-glace (if using) and stir to combine.

6. Place the patties back into the pan, cover, and cook for 7 minutes, flipping them over once in the middle. Cook uncovered for another 3 minutes to thicken the sauce a little. Serve with rice, pasta or boiled potatoes and top with a sunny side egg.

You can check out my other burger recipes here - beef burger, pork burger and lamb burger.

Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here. 


  1. Ahhhh!!!! Homemade patties!!! Best!!!!

  2. Hahaha...they do look moist n juicy...congrats on the successful hamburgs =)

    Love the heart-shaped runny egg too...hehe =)

    1. Thanks thanks! Am glad you approve, oh hambagu-lover!

    2. Dun rest on ur laurels...time to improve the shape and tweak d composition of the hamburgs...hehe :P

    3. Ok ok, will practice more until can get restaurant standard. ;P

  3. This looks really delicious! I love how its served together with the runny egg. I like to dip my hamburg in the runny yolk.

    1. The runny egg yolk definitely complemented the hamburg well.

  4. a protein-packed recipe, perfect for your growing kids! :D and wow, i've never seen eggs that get molded into hearts before, but i love what you did!

    1. Hhheeh we have got special heart-shaped moulds, Hubby bought it while we were dating ;P

  5. This looks really delicious! I love how its served together with the runny egg. I like to dip my hamburg in the runny yolk.

  6. good lord.. ur son. im gonna kidnap him!! LOL

    oishii desu.. and so pretty too the amburgeh! hehe

    1. Hehe thanks! My son + food = perfect combo la. :P

  7. I like the tip about adding silken tofu! I used to order these all the time when I lived in Japan-I never really missed the bun :)

    1. Yeah usually when I eat a burger, the part I dislike most is the bun. So hambagu is pretty great.

  8. what a dinner!! lost at words on the gorgeous love eggs to the delicious looking hambagu to the veggies... and I always love watching baby D enjoy his meal.. :)

    1. I love watching him eat too, always makes me happy to see him enjoying his food.

  9. Using tofu is a great idea! The runny egg yolk just makes it sooo much better :P Eating burger without the bun suits me too.

    1. Mr. NoRecipes is a very smart man indeed. I love scrutinizing his recipes and learning new things.

  10. Oh i definitely want to try this recipe, my two "pigs" (the big one and the small one!) will sure love this. ThanksYen. Love the photos!

  11. Such a cool recipe, and a very unique hambagu! I'm definitely going to have to try this one out, tofu and all!


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