Japanese Salisbury Steak (Japanese Hamburger Steak or “Hambāgu”)

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Japanese Hamburger Steak "Hambāgu" (ハンバーグ)

Hambāgu“ (ハンバーグ) is a Japanese style Salisbury Steak.  It is a ground meat patty made with onions, egg, panko breadcrumbs – pan fried and served with a gravy, typically over rice.  (In Hawaii, add a fried egg and this dish becomes loco moco!)

My favorite way to make Japanese Hamburger Steak is with Asian style fried red onions – you can usually find jars of Fried Red Onion at Asian grocery stores like 99 Ranch.  If you can’t find Asian style fried red onions, you can substitute with French’s fried onions (the kind you put on  green bean casserole for thanksgiving).  Or, if you prefer not to use either, substitute with sauteed cooked fresh onions.

To make the gravy you will use pan drippings, red wine, ketchup, and soy sauce.  If you prefer not to use red wine, you can substitute with beef broth – but I like the flavor that red wine adds to the sauce.  I also like to use mushrooms to top the hamburger steaks – if you prefer to leave them out, you can do so.  Just keep in mind that as the mushrooms cook they will give off some moisture to the sauce, so if you omit the mushrooms you may need to add more liquid to the sauce.  Enjoy!

Japanese Hamburger Steak (4 servings):

Use panko bread crumbs and fried red onion.

  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1/3 c. fried red onion (use French’s fried onions or sauteed cooked onions if you can’t find the Asian style fried red onions)
  • 1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T. chopped parsley
  • 1 T. canola oil
  • 1 c. mushrooms (optional)

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1/3 c. red wine
  • 1/3 c. water of beef broth
  • 1/4 c. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce

1.  Mix the ground meat, fried onions, panko breadcrumbs, 1 egg, soy sauce, salt, and pepper.

2.  Mix in the parsley, and with your hands form 4 thick patties.

3.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high.  Add the meat patties and cook for 3-4 minutes.  (Leave the patties in the same spot so they can develop a nice brown crust – don’t move them around the pan too much.)

4.  Flip the patties and continue to cook 3-4 minutes on the other side until brown and golden.

5.  Pour the red wine into the pan, then cover.  Allow the meat patties to “steam” for a few minutes as the patties finish cooking and the wine reduces.

6.  Once the wine has reduced to just a few tablespoons and the meat patties are thoroughly cooked, remove the meat patties to a separate plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  The reduced wine and brown bits leftover in the pan will flavor the sauce.

7.  Add the mushrooms (optional) and water (or broth) to the skillet, and use a spatula to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. The brown bits are “fond” and contain a lot of flavor for your sauce.

8.  As the mushrooms cook (they will cook very quickly) they will release some moisture into the sauce – if you omit the mushrooms, you may want to add a bit more water or broth if the sauce is looking too dry.  Stir in the ketchup and soy sauce.

9.  Turn off the heat.  Plate your hamburger steaks and spoon the sauce and mushrooms over the top.  Enjoy!