Japanese Hamburg Steak

ハンバーグ Japanese Hamburger Steak

One of the things English speakers quickly learn in Japan is the difference between hambaaga and hambaagu. The first one is your typical hamburger. The other one is a hamburg steak. Apparently, in the States we also have this, and it’s called Salisbury steak. I say apparently because I’d never heard of it before moving to Japan.

Hamburg is a super soft steamed patty made with ground meat, and some stuff to bind it together. There are lots of different toppings and sauces, but I like the wafu “Japanese” style. It’s topped with a sweet teriyaki sauce and grated daikon. For a Hawaiian twist, use a slice of grilled pineapple for the topping!

Fun fact: Hamburg is one of children’s favorite foods in Japan!

For the language learners out there: The word たね (tah-neh) is used for both seeds and meat patties.

Japanese Hamburg

Serves: 2 (makes two patties)


1/3 cup grated daikon

thinly sliced green onion or shiso

For the hamburg:

250 grams ground pork and beef mixture

1/2 beaten egg

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/3 cup panko

1/3 cup milk (or soy milk)

1/4 onion, minced


3 Tablespoons of each: water, sake, mirin, soy sauce

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 tsp corn starch


First: Combine all hamburg ingredients and stir until it combines into a slightly sticky homogenous mixture. Divide in half for large patties, or 4 for small ones.

Second: lightly throw each patty from hand to hand. This will compact the patty and get rid of any extra air. Shape it into a round circle.

Third: In a frying pan add a enough cooking oil to coat the pan and gently place the patties in it. Brown both sides of the patty. After each side is browned, add half a cup of water, cover with a lid. Allow to steam for 4-6 minutes, or until cooked through.

Fourth: Wipe out any remaining water in the pan. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over the patties. With a spoon, keep pouring the excess sauce in the pan over the meat until the sauce has thickened and the hamburgs are coated in shiny brown layer.

Fifth: Remove from heat to serving plates. Ladle extra sauce over the patty, and top the patties with shredded daikon, green onion, and a tiny spoon full of sauce over the daikon.

Itadakimasu! Let’s eat!

I was too lazy to make any side dishes…

Thanks to orangepage.net for the original recipe! They also have some lovely pictures that are much more appetizing than mine ^_^;


2 thoughts on “Japanese Hamburg Steak”

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