Easy Japanese Recipes

Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu) ハンバーグ

Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu ハンバーグ) | JustOneCookbook.com I still remember vividly how my mom and I spent many evenings making Japanese Hamburger Steak.  If I was home, she would call me around 4:30 PM and always encouraged my presence in the kitchen.  And I didn’t mind most of the time, unless I was in the middle of a novel that I couldn’t stop reading.  And that’s how I learned cooking Japanese food from her.

Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu ハンバーグ) | JustOneCookbook.com Japanese Hamburger Steak, or we call it Hambāgu (ハンバーグ) or Hambāgu Steak (ハンバーグステーキ), is a popular dish enjoyed both at home and Yoshoku (Japanese style western food) restaurants.  It’s a steak made from ground meat and usually served with rice rather than buns.  While researching facts about Hambāgu on Japanese Wiki, I learned that there is American version of hamburger steak and it’s very similar to a dish called Salisbury Steak, both of which I’ve never tried before.

The common theme for all these hamburger steaks is that they are made from a blend of minced beef (In Japan, it’s both beef and pork) and other ingredients.  There are many variations of Hambāgu in Japan, like Wafu Hambāgu (soy sauce base sauce with grated daikon), Teriyaki Hambāgu, Demi-glacé Hambāgu, and more.  Not to mention, there are different topping options, such as sautéed shimeji mushrooms and fried egg.  But today I’m sharing the basic Hambāgu recipe with homemade sauce.

Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu ハンバーグ) | JustOneCookbook.com

As I mentioned earlier, Hambāgu in Japan is typically made from both ground beef and ground pork, and the common ratio is 7 : 3.  Japanese supermarkets sell a convenient package of both ground beef and ground pork (we call it Aibiki-Niku 合いびき肉) so that we don’t have to buy the meat separately.  We use this Aibiki Niku for Korokke, Spaghetti Meat Sauce, and Hambāgu recipes.

Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu ハンバーグ) | JustOneCookbook.com

My mom taught me a few important tips to enhance the flavor of Hambāgu.

  1. Sauté onion slowly and then cool it down completely.  The cooked onion will add natural sweetness to Hambāgu.
  2. Knead the mixture into gruel with hands.
  3. Play catch, tossing meat mixture from left hand to right hand a couple of times in order to release the air inside (See video below).
  4. Cool down the meat patties in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and take them out only right before cooking.
  5. Indent each patty with fingers to avoid explosion or crumbling of the meat patties when you cook.  The meat will expand during cooking, and the indentation will disappear.

Now let’s go over the recipe first before my husband talks about his review on the wine that we pair up with Hambāgu.

Hamburger Steak (Hambagu) Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Serves 4
  • ½ (6.8 oz, 192 g) large onion
  • 1 Tbsp. oil for sautéing onion
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ lb (14 oz, 386 g) ground beef and ground pork (50% beef and 50% pork, but you can use 100% beef)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • ⅓ cup panko
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. oil for cooking Hambagu
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 3 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. tonkatsu sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)
  1. Chop the onion finely. With the knife tip pointing toward the root, slice the onion to within ½ inch of the base. Make about ¼ inch parallel cuts. Then slice the onion horizontally about ¼ inch parallel cuts. Then cut perpendicular to the first slices you made. If the onions need to be chopped finer, you can run your knife through them in a rocking motion. Be sure to hold down the tip of the knife, otherwise the onions are going to go flying around the room.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat and sauté the onion until translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and let it cool.
  4. Add the meat in the bowl and mix all together.
  5. Add an egg, milk, Panko, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg.
  6. Mix the meat well with your hands until the mixture gets sticky. If you want to keep your hands clean, use rubber gloves or use plastic bags.
  7. Pinch off 2 inch from the mixture and make 4 large patties (or 6 medium patties). Toss each ball from one hand to the other hand repeatedly about 5 times in order to release air inside the balls (see the video link above). The hamburger steaks will crack while cooking if you don’t release the air inside.
  8. Make oval shape patties. The top shouldn’t be flat, more like round. Keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking so that the meat combines together.
  9. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat and place the patties gently on the pan. Indent the center of each patty with 2 fingers because the center of patties will rise with heat.
  10. Cook the patties about 5 minutes. Do not flip until nicely browned.
  11. After you flip, pour red wine and lower heat to medium low heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes to thoroughly cook the inside of the patties (adjust cooking time depending on thickness).
  12. Then uncover and increase heat to medium high to let the red wine evaporate. When it’s almost gone, transfer steaks into individual plates. Do not wash the pan.
  13. Combine the liquid sauce ingredients in a bowl.
  14. In the same pan (without cleaning), add butter and sauce ingredients and mix well.
  15. Lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer for a few minutes until alcohol smell is gone. While simmering, you can skim off the scum and fat.
  16. When the sauce thickens, pour the sauce over the hamburger steaks. Serve the hamburger steak with vegetables over your favorite side dish.

Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu ハンバーグ) | JustOneCookbook.com

When Nami told me she would make Japanese hamburger steaks, I remembered that we received a bottle of 2011 Meiomi Pinot Noir as a gift and thought they might go well together.  I wanted to drink something that would refresh my palate from the rich juicy steak.  The pairing was just perfect, the Pinot Noir was light and delicate which balanced out the steak and the heavy sauce.  Even though the wine was very light, I was quite surprised at how flavorful and fruity it was.  Here is an excerpt on the tasting note from the wine maker:

Bright, deep garnet color. Aromas of cola, blackberries and a sweet cedar note…..Then the wine unloads with flavors of bright cherry, cola, dried leaves undertoned with vanilla, leather and high style oak.”

If you are looking for a fun Pinot Noir to share with friends or to go with Steak/Chicken, give Meiomi a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Please note: We received no compensation for this review. We received a bottle of Meiomi from Jarvis Communication free of charge to use in exchange for an honest review.

Leave a Comment

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  • daphne December 17, 2012, 11:57 pm

    oh that looks very moist and flavoursome! Certainly a burger steak that I want to try for sure.

  • Aline December 18, 2012, 12:21 am

    I’d like see here some ideas for Japanese breakfast. Onegaishimasu! (-人-)

  • Sophia December 18, 2012, 12:23 am

    I love Japanese hamburg! I love it esp with a fried egg on top, with the yolk all soaking into the meat! :)

  • Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers December 18, 2012, 12:29 am

    That looks so good Nami! If only I have the ingredients, I would follow your recipe right now. I’ve had Salisbury steak and I love it! Your red wine reduction seems perfect with the burgers. I can’t wait to have the ingredients and try this recipe!

  • Jeannie December 18, 2012, 1:25 am

    I know my sons would love this hamburger steaks, they really love their hamburgers! Washing all the delicious rich food down with a good glass of wine would be a perfect ending to a nice meal:)

  • kat December 18, 2012, 1:49 am

    mmm love hamba-gu!

  • Renata December 18, 2012, 2:00 am

    I can’t wait to try this hamburger, you plated it so beautifully and deliciously with the veggies! I’m definitely pinning for the first opportunity. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  • Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover December 18, 2012, 2:27 am

    Oh, look mouthwatering and super yummy, Thanks for sharing the tips too.

  • yummychunklet December 18, 2012, 2:41 am

    Now I like the look of that sauce! Yum! No need for a bun.

  • Belinda @zomppa December 18, 2012, 3:03 am

    My dad didnt make it that fancy, but glad to know we weren’t the only ones eating burgers with rice!

  • Sandra December 18, 2012, 4:41 am

    This is a terrific low carb meal which I will definitely need after the holidays. Thanks for sharing the tips also.

  • albertocook December 18, 2012, 5:13 am

    I love it

  • Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings December 18, 2012, 5:27 am

    yum! and what great memories cooking with your mom!

  • Kitchen Belleicious December 18, 2012, 5:28 am

    Oh i haven;t had hamburger steak in years! Thanks for the memories and the reminder! I can;t wait to start that tradition with my kids. We had it all the time- like once or twice a month. My moms version of course- but nonetheless hamburger steak it was! hope your having a great christmas season

  • Ramona December 18, 2012, 5:52 am

    My husband and kids would go crazy for this meal! My mother was just like your mother when I lived at home. She wanted to teach me to cook and although I didn’t always appreciate it then… I do now. :)

  • Kimmi December 18, 2012, 5:54 am

    This dish looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing the tips about the process of forming the patties; that kind of knowledge must only come from experience and cooking with others in the kitchen. =)

    • Nami December 18, 2012, 8:24 am

      Thank you Kimmi! :)

  • Asmita December 18, 2012, 6:22 am

    This looks insanely delicious!

  • Elizabeth @Mango_Queen December 18, 2012, 6:23 am

    Nami, your story about your mom teaching you how to cook sounds so much like my own mom when I was growing up. There’s nothing like an Asian mom, isn’t there? I love your Hamburger Steak Recipe. This is so easy on any night & my family will love this. Off to the freezer to defrost the ground beef – cooking this tonight ! Thanks for the recipe :-)

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking December 18, 2012, 6:45 am

    The sauce on top of those hamburgers is just divine. I love sauces and the whole meal looks very Delicious and appealing not to mention beautifully served. Great video! ;)

  • claire @ the realistic nutritionist December 18, 2012, 6:46 am

    OH this steak looks INCREDIBLE!!!

  • Esther December 18, 2012, 6:47 am

    Hi Nami, i have never tried hambagu before, but have heard so muchnabout it. Ok, i must learn to make this soon. Thanks for the important tips, thats how to make good burgers :)

  • Stephanie December 18, 2012, 6:56 am

    I love Hambagu Steak! The first time I had it was in Taiwan and it’s different than what I expected and so delicious. I haven’t seen it here in the States so I’m so glad you posted this up! Thank you!

  • Kate@Diethood December 18, 2012, 7:06 am

    Oh isn’t that gorgeous! And so Juicy!! In Macedonian cuisine, the hamburger is made with 3 meats; lamb, pork, and veal. YUMMO! :)

  • A_Boleyn December 18, 2012, 7:18 am

    I’m sorry but I had to laugh when I read the instructions for making the hamburger patties. Western ‘wisdom’ says that the ground meat should be handled as little as possible to keep the patty light and tender. Especially avoiding the heat of one’s hands. So the rather forceful method you describe is very surprising. :) I too like to add a tablespoon or so of caramelized onions to my hamburgers for that rich sweet flavour. And my mom always liked to add rich fatty pork to her hamburgers.

    But my favourite part of your recipe was the red wine sauce. Definitely meant to be served with an expensive steak and not the ‘humble hamburger’, as it’s considered in the west. It makes me want to run out a buy a good bottle of Pinot Noir to serve with the t-bone steaks now sitting in my freezer.

    Thank you again for sharing another part of Japanese cuisine with your fascinated readers.

    • Nami December 18, 2012, 8:29 am

      Hi Maria – how interesting indeed! I learned those tips from my mom first, but they are actually commonly practiced in Japan, and cooking shows and books show the same method. So this is very cultural difference on how to make hamburger steak! I had fun reading about Western method as I’ve never had Western version before and I didn’t know how they are commonly cooked. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Ashley - Baker by Nature December 18, 2012, 7:40 am

    Hamburger steak sounds like something I would LOVE! I miss cooking with my mom, such great memories!!!

  • Reese@SeasonwithSpice December 18, 2012, 7:48 am

    How convenient that they actually sell both ground beef & pork together. The rich brown sauce looks absolutely marvelous, Nami. Someone mentioned topping fried egg on Japanese hamburger and having the yolk soaking the meat. Oh my…I see that you used nutmeg in the recipe. Is this traditional?

    • Nami December 18, 2012, 8:32 am

      Hi Reese! Yes, most Japanese hamburger steak has nutmeg in it. This dish is Japanese style western food, and I’m pretty sure this was my first recipe that I heard of “nutmeg” in a recipe when I was small. :)

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) December 18, 2012, 10:11 am

    Your hamburger steak looks so delicious, Nami! I love the red wine reduction!

  • Evelyne@cheapethniceatz December 18, 2012, 10:59 am

    I so do not associate hamburger with Japanese food lol. But These do look very tasty with the unique flavors. They are cooked beautifully. Great tips too!

  • Eva Taylor December 18, 2012, 11:18 am

    What an interesting recipe, Nami, the nutmeg is definitely a tip of the hat to French food, and I can see why it would pair well with the wine your hubby selected. I’ve been meaning to make my own patties since I received the kitchenaid meat grinding attachment. If properly done, you can even eat it rare.

  • Rosa December 18, 2012, 11:37 am

    Scrumptious and really moist! I love hamburger steaks.



  • Jo Lam December 18, 2012, 12:26 pm

    Yummy! I love that it is called a hamburger but it’s not in buns. Love it!

  • john@kitchenriffs December 18, 2012, 12:46 pm

    I think about every cuisine has some kind of hamburger (well, ground meat at any rate!). I’ve never had mine made Japanese-style before, however. What great flavors! I love the mix of beef and pork (best way to make meat balls too, IMO). Really good stuff – thanks so much.

  • nipponnin December 18, 2012, 1:17 pm


  • Juliana December 18, 2012, 1:44 pm

    I love when pork and beef are mixed together…your little hamburgers look awesome, so plump and juicy…yum!
    Have a great week Nami :)

  • Hannah December 18, 2012, 2:07 pm

    Your hamburger steaks look truly tempting, Nami! My family loves hamburgers, and I know they’ll enjoy these (especially drizzled with that rich sauce). I enjoyed your husband’s wine review, too!

  • Martyna@WholesomeCook December 18, 2012, 2:08 pm

    We call them rissoles here and have them often too. I normally make them with 100% pork but I like your combination of beef and pork Nami. Great presentation too!

  • nancy December 18, 2012, 2:46 pm

    I remember eating Japanese hamburgers in Japan when we were young. They were so delicious and asked our aunt for the recipe. I lost it many years later. I am happy to see it on your site. Delicious!!

    • Nami December 20, 2012, 3:22 pm

      Hi Nancy! I hope my recipe is as good as your aunt’s. Every family has their own way to make it, but basic ingredients etc are pretty much same. Hope you can adjust it to your liking! :) Thank you so much for your feedback!

  • Nazneen|Coffee and Crumpets December 18, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Looks delicious…it is a Japanese Salisbury steak…which I make quite often. Beautiful pictures as usual, they look so juicy and rich.


  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella December 18, 2012, 4:21 pm

    Oh this reminds me so much of living in Japan Nami! Also it was so funny to describe the difference between a Hambagu and a Hamburger. Some people just didn’t understand why but it was really one of the earlier low carb meals around! :P

  • Eha December 18, 2012, 5:59 pm

    The most delicious-looking homemade meal! I feel like laughing, ’cause my Mom gave me about the same tips when we oft made ‘kotletid’ [hamburger patties, rissoles . . .!] and that was half the world away and decades ago :) ! In N Europe it was 1/3 ground beef. 1/3 ground veal and 1/3 pork [veal now hard to get, so I make it 1/2 and 1/2!] Well, we did not have panko, but always made our own breadcrumbs!! :D ! Yum!!!!

    • Nami December 21, 2012, 1:49 pm

      Thank you Eha! I’m really interested in these three meat combination. It must be delicious! Thanks for always sharing a story. I enjoy it every time. :)

  • vivala-b.bird December 18, 2012, 7:08 pm

    As usual, it looks amazing! There is a little Japanese restaurant here in Vancouver that was called Yoshoku-Ya that served only western Japanese cuisine! Now I know why it is called Yoshoku-Ya!

    • Nami December 21, 2012, 1:53 pm

      Yoshoku-ya sounds like a nice Japanese restaurant! We have quite numbers of western Japanese food. I need to remember next time I go to Vancouver! ;)

  • S. Howard December 18, 2012, 7:15 pm

    Nami, these look SO good. I will be trying this soon. I do have a question, though:

    Is there a typographical error in the quantity of beef and pork meat? Shouldn’t it say 8.5 oz, rather than .85 oz? The decimal seems to be in the wrong place to me…?

    • Nami December 21, 2012, 1:53 pm

      Thank you so much! It was actually .85 lb! :) I hope you enjoy it!

  • Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings December 18, 2012, 9:23 pm

    Nami, I still don’t know how you do it – cook and take photos of step-by-step! That’s so crazy! That said, I really appreciate your step-by-step because it takes the intimidation factor out! You make it look easy, hence encourage people to try also! And of course, hambagu is a good recipe to have for family dinners!

  • Lail | With A Spin December 18, 2012, 9:53 pm

    Looks Delicious, Nami.

    I didn’t know about making the indentation in the middle of burgers. Learned something new.

  • Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen December 18, 2012, 10:56 pm

    I tend to leave the hamburger bun on the side so I like the serving suggestion. This is a lovely easy family meal for busy households over the holiday season, Nami. Wishing you and yours much happiness and luck for 2013. Thanks for all your delicious recipes and stunning photos over the year. I enjoy your blog so much. Hester x

  • Linda | The Urban Mrs December 18, 2012, 10:58 pm

    Hubs would be thrilled if I made this for him. He adores Japanese food so much and this is one of his favorite. i also enjoy it when it’s juicy and saucy. And of course, don’t forget pinot noir…or anything red. Yum!

  • MaryMoh December 19, 2012, 12:09 am

    Wow…these look really….mmmm. I have to print out the recipes. Love the sauce. Can tell from the ingredients. I would love to try one day. Thanks very much for sharing. I love Japanese food but all of them look so delicate. There’s much to learn from you . Then I can cook more like a Japanese :D

  • Mr. Three-Cookies December 19, 2012, 1:10 am

    A very gourmet version of the humble American burger. The glaze looks absolutely appealing. I’ve never tried Japanese burgers but given I choice I think I would pick this one over McD’s:)

  • hui December 19, 2012, 1:16 am

    mmm.. yummy ^^! with rice, please! ^^

  • Jenny December 19, 2012, 1:17 am

    Excellent recipe, Nami. especially love the sauce, and also adding pork – I’ve never thought of that. yum.

  • Mich Piece of Cake December 19, 2012, 1:32 am

    I’ve always enjoyed these in the restaurants and didn’t know its that simple to make! Thanks for sharing!

  • Dara December 19, 2012, 6:28 am

    Looks delish. I love all your cooking tips! I apprecaite the wine info as well.

  • Liz December 19, 2012, 10:57 am

    Gosh, these look (and sound) outstanding! My family would love this for dinner…and I’d rather have mine with rice than on a bun anyway :)

  • Lynna December 19, 2012, 12:18 pm

    Oh my… my boyfriend is going to be SO HAPPY about this recipe. He lovesss Japanese hamburg. Especially in curry! This looks wonderful.

  • Sissi December 19, 2012, 1:06 pm

    Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to taste hambaagu when I was in Tokyo, but I have already put it on my list for next trip (I’m very positive as you see!). I am sure I would love it because what I hate most is hamburger without any seasoning and these are just like those I make at home: with fried onions! (I had no idea it was a Japanese touch ;-) ). I am very intrigued by the meat ratio. I usually put half pork and half beef whenever I use ground meat. I must try this way next time. The hole in the patty is such a wise idea because whenever I make fried patties they tend to break… Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe and such useful tips.
    Talking about novels, do you know Natsuo Kirino? I have just read one of her books and I loved it. Something tells me I have already been bought some other of her books for Christmas ;-)

  • Balvinder December 19, 2012, 2:49 pm

    What a coincidence I made something similar but with chicken. Your hambagu looks totally out of the world and the sauce yum..

  • Kankana December 19, 2012, 3:27 pm

    Pinot Noir is my husband fav wine, be it with white meat or red meat :) Thanks for teaching that technique through the video. It helped!

  • miss mochi December 19, 2012, 5:07 pm

    My boyfriend loves hambagu kare! He was surprised when I first convinced him to try it, he was expecting a dry American hamburger patty and instead was delighted with the moist meatloaf-like Japanese version.

  • Rhonda December 19, 2012, 6:29 pm

    I actually made a dish once called “Asian Style” Salisbury Steak and it was amazing, this looks even better!

  • Raymund December 19, 2012, 6:33 pm

    I love how thick those burgers are and the use of 50/50 pork and beef thats how I exactly do our burgers as well

  • mjskit December 19, 2012, 7:46 pm

    I was really surprised to see “hamburger steak” as the heading of one of your email notices. I had to check it twice to make sure I was reading it right. :) So there ARE some basics dishes that are shared across cultures. I grew up in a house where hamburger steak was the standby meal when mama didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s interesting because your steak recipe is almost exactly like my mama’s except that she used bread instead of panko. Of course the sauce was more of a brown gravy which is completed different from yours. I do love your sauce/gravy. A lot lighter. This dish definitely takes me back! Lovely, lovely pics!

  • Marina@Picnic at Marina December 19, 2012, 9:18 pm

    Nami, I am reading tips from your mom and can hear the same words my mother would say. How cool is that! :)

  • Beth Michelle December 20, 2012, 12:31 am

    This looks delicious Nami. Ive never had Japanese Hamburger. Love the sound of these, especially that sauce.

  • Hotly Spiced December 20, 2012, 3:59 am

    What a lovely family meal, Nami, and how wonderful that your mother involved you in the kitchen. I believe all good cooks learned from their mums! xx

  • Adrian (What the Heck is Filipino Food) December 20, 2012, 4:12 am

    I like the beef and pork pairings. Extra tasty! I never knew about the other variations. When I was in Japan, I must’ve had this 3 times in a week in addition to the amount of yakitori and ramen I was gulping down.

  • The Café Sucré Farine December 20, 2012, 5:07 am

    Nami, these sound wonderful, what a fun, unique version of a hamburger steak. You always have something interesting and delicious!

  • peachkins December 20, 2012, 5:25 am

    I love a good Japanese Hamburger Steak! I enjoyed my share here in restaurants.

    Merry Christmas, Nami!

  • Mi Vida en un Dulce December 20, 2012, 10:16 am

    Great tips, honestly I never made hamburgers at home, I always buy it in the supermarket, but I’m sure making it at home is absolutely better. Having onions at that point really give a nice sweet touch…your mother is a genius…!!!

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today December 20, 2012, 11:00 am

    Moms are the best teachers, you were so lucky, as my mum used to scream on us and tell us to leave the kitchen, hahaha. Maybe because I have 2 sisters and we were very loud together. Anyway I did not learn much from her and I regret it. She is one good cook :) I must also say that I’m a fan of hamburgers and it will be an adventure to try the recipe for a Japanese one :)

  • Eri December 20, 2012, 1:32 pm

    I just love that sauce!

  • Patty December 20, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Nami, You’ve created a true comfort food meal to inspire us in our kitchens!
    I this the pan sauce is the crowning touch to your hamburger steaks-love the wine suggestion too-thanks;-)

  • tigerfish December 20, 2012, 9:40 pm

    I always see this Play Catch method in Chinese cooking pgms, when chefs are invited to make a dish involving meat patties, meatballs etc.; and it’s for the same reason to release the air! Your hamburger steak looks very moist and juicy! And thanks for the tip about the meat combo. sold in Japanese supermarkets. I don’t think I have seen it before :O

  • Lyndsey @TheTinySkillet December 22, 2012, 2:10 pm

    This is something that I would serve my family on a regular basis. I don’t ever buy ground beef, we were never much of a hamburger eating family. I usually use ground pork, chicken or turkey…even in my meatloaf…never beef. I might have to buy some when I make this though. I usually prepare our meat patties like this and I never eat them on a bun, well except maybe tiny sliders. :) I have got to try this sauce, I know my daughter will request this regularly…maybe I should get her to make it. ;)

  • Melissa December 22, 2012, 6:24 pm

    Looks very delicious. I would like to try and make it this weekend. Just one request., I love eggs benedict. Would you have your own version for making it at home? Thanks so much!

    • Nami December 22, 2012, 11:01 pm

      Hi Melissa,

      I don’t have my recipe for egg Benedict. Hope you can find a good recipe somewhere. Thank you for asking and stopping by! :)

      Merry Christmas!

  • jody December 23, 2012, 6:49 am

    will you be able to show us what brand tonkatsu sauce you used. i couldn’t enlarge the picture to read the brand.
    thank you.

    • Nami December 23, 2012, 11:40 am

      The one I have is a Bulldog brand tonkatsu sauce. :)

  • Aunt Clara December 23, 2012, 3:38 pm

    I am mostly a non-meat eater, but my husband is an avid carnivore and I am always looking for new ideas. This goes in the to-do list.

    BTW, I loved the first picture. Nice styling.

  • ChopinandMysaucepan December 23, 2012, 3:41 pm

    Dear Nami,

    You are absolutely spot on for using 50% beef and 50% pork! I can imagine how soft and delicious these hamburger steaks would be with that combination as I might even use a little bit more pork over beef sometimes for a spaghetti bolognaise. I was hoping to see the inside of the hamburger and you didn’t disappoint with that last photo. Awesome recipe as always.

  • Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen December 23, 2012, 9:26 pm

    Who knew there was a Japanese version of Salisbury steak?! This is a very familiar dish for me and your version looks wonderful!

  • Food Jaunts December 24, 2012, 3:48 pm

    Oh yummy – it looks so moist and delicious. Thanks for the sauce recipe! I always wondered what was in the sauce and tried to recreate it once but I was way off :)

  • Lori Lynn December 25, 2012, 11:45 am

    I heart hambagu!

  • Yelena December 25, 2012, 6:19 pm

    Thank you for the wine advise, we love to drink wine in our house and always tasting something new. I love the sauce a lot here, make a very interesting dish. I admire you for doing step by step photography, so much work. You are the best Nami!

  • Kimby December 27, 2012, 2:11 am

    Thanks for the helpful hints, Nami! Have bookmarked this recipe to try next time I make hamburger steaks! I actually made some last night for dinner (hadn’t read your post yet!) and served them with a red wine/mushroom sauce, but used all beef — the pork addition you suggested sounds flavorful! Also loved the description of the wine your hubby reviewed. Happy Holidays!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious December 27, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Oh my goodness – I haven’t had this since grade school! And of course I had no idea this was makeable at home. I actually have all of the ingredients too – especially since I stocked up on the tonkatsu sauce last weekend!

  • Christine @ Cooking Crusade December 28, 2012, 11:31 pm

    These look delicious – a bit similar to rissoles we have in Australia :D

  • Ernie December 29, 2012, 10:15 pm

    Have you ever added chopped and sauteed celery and carrots along with the sautéed onions? That’s how they did it in Hawaii. Plantation days. That’s how my mom used to make it (sans the red wine reduction). I’m planning to try your recipe with the celery and carrots. Let you know how it turns out.

    • Nami December 31, 2012, 12:03 am

      Hi Ernie! No, I haven’t but that sounds like a great idea especially for kids to get extra nutrition! I should give that a try next time. Thank you for letting me know! I hope you like my hambagu recipe. :)

  • Andrea December 30, 2012, 11:24 am

    Nami – Japanese Hamburger Steak – now, that sounds interesting. I never knew there was such a dish but it certainly looks delicious the way you prepared this – a true family-style comfort-food meal! Wonderful recipe! I am very sorry that I am so late with my comments – but you know how it is around this time of year – these days, I feel like I am running a small restaurant, so many meals to prepare, so many guests to cook and bake for.

  • ananas roti January 13, 2013, 1:43 am

    Looks really good!  Best of all, I have all the ingredients in the cupboard, so will definitely be making myself one to eat this coming weekend.

  • S. Howard January 24, 2013, 9:38 pm

    I made this tonight, and it turned out FANTASTIC! I invited my mother over to try them, and she loved them too. I even have one left for my bento lunch tomorrow, which is perfect! I served them with steamed long green beans and Japanese rice. Yum! Thank you for sharing all this delicious food with us.

    PS- I was wondering if you have a favorite recipe for Okayu (お粥) that you would be willing to share? Since it is “cold and flu season,” I would like to try making that next time I’m not feeling too well. Also, if it is possible to make it in a rice cooker that does NOT have a separate porridge setting, I would love to know how to do it that way. If that’s not possible, then a stove-top method would be fine too.

    • Nami January 25, 2013, 10:32 pm

      Yay! Thank you so much for your feedback! I’m happy to hear you and your mom enjoyed this dish. :) It’s a perfect bento dish too (meaning we can still enjoy at room temperature).

      Since my daughter is currently sick with flu, I thought about making okayu too… if I can squeeze in photo shooting I may consider sharing it. We don’t normally eat okayu regularly (like Chinese enjoy for breakfast), I rarely make it unless someone is sick. :) I never used rice cooker to make okayu (but I am sure mine has the setting). I always think it tastes better cooking in donabe (ceramic pot). If I cannot photo shoot this time, I keep okayu in my requested recipe list. Thanks!

  • Jackie January 28, 2013, 6:54 pm

    what if we don’t have red wine :(

    • Nami January 29, 2013, 12:11 am

      Hi Jackie! You can still make delicious sauce without wine. If necessary, add a little more water when you combine all the ingredients for the sauce. :)

  • Eugene February 11, 2013, 3:56 am

    My son watched “Itadakimasu! Diing with the Chef” on NHK world and nagged me to get the recipe.
    Simple to make and delicious! We are going to try other Japanese recipes from your site!
    Many thanks and kind regards.

    • Nami February 11, 2013, 11:42 am

      Hi Eugene! Thank you for trying this recipe! It “looks” complicated but it’s very simple when you start making it. I hope you enjoy other recipes from my site. Thank you for your kind feedback! :)

  • diana widjaja March 4, 2013, 7:59 am

    Ohhh Love that demi glaze sauce! This looks exactly like the hambagu in my favorite Japanese Dorama : Queen of Lunch!.. I will definitely try it out soon :D.. Thank you Nami :)

  • Dominique March 24, 2013, 8:47 pm

    Can you suggest a substitute for the wine? We are not drinkers. Now I know the alcohol cooks out but I would rather not have to buy the wine.

    • Nami March 25, 2013, 11:50 pm

      Hi Dominique! No problem. Adding wine is my arrange (to make it more soft and juicy) but it’s not necessary. After you flip the hamburger steak, make sure you cover to steam. Also the sauce recipe requires wine too, but you can simply omit. The combination of Ketchup + Tonkatsu sauce + water (+ butter) is still delicious! Hope that helps.

  • Dominique March 24, 2013, 8:50 pm

    Other than that I can’t wait to try this! It looks much better than salisbury steaks and the tips are helpful! I always end up with crumbly meat patties, now I know why! thanks!

    • Nami March 25, 2013, 11:50 pm

      Good luck and hope you enjoy this recipe! :)

  • Monique March 28, 2013, 6:19 am

    Hi Nami! Before anything else I’d just like to tell you what a wonderful site you have. I’ve been looking for a website like yours, that had Japanese recipes with precise directions that are very easy to follow. Keep up the great work! :)

    Anyway, I wanted to know if there was a good alternative for the butter that you use for your sauce? I have a couple of friends who follow the Paleo Diet and I wouldn’t want to slip in anything that they’re not supposed to eat. I know it’s just a tablespoon of butter, but I’d really appreciate it if I could find another alternative, that isn’t a dairy product. :)

    Thanks, and again, keep up the great work! :)

    • Nami April 1, 2013, 8:39 pm

      Hi Monique! Thank you so much for your kind compliments. I’m really happy to hear you enjoy my blog. :)

      Regarding the butter, you can omit. The butter is just to add extra savory flavor to it. If you compare the sauce with and without, you may notice the difference, but even without it, the sauce is still tasty. I sometimes omit too, depending on how much extra calorie I want to add.. :)

      Hope your friends enjoy this recipe!

  • Sylvana April 15, 2013, 12:43 pm

    Hi Nami,

    Can these be frozen and eaten later? If so, how long are they good for, if frozen? Thank you! :)


    • Nami April 15, 2013, 10:23 pm

      Hi Sylvana! You can usually store in an airtight container and freeze for a month, but usually best flavor would last for 2 weeks. When you defrost, you can microwave directly or defrost in the fridge first, then pan fry again. Save the sauce in a separate container too! :)

  • iLaishan April 20, 2013, 10:58 am

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! The hambagu turned out so moist and it tastes so good and true to the Japanese flavor. My family loves it and I will definitely make it again and again =).

    • Nami April 22, 2013, 11:07 am

      Hi iLaishan! Thank you so much for your kind feedback. I’m so glad your family enjoyed this recipe. It’s one of our family’s favorites too! :)

  • Gourmet Creations April 27, 2013, 6:52 pm


  • Sook May 1, 2013, 4:26 pm

    trying this tonight! without onions since my hubby hates them… :( But i’m sure it will still taste greaT!

  • tina May 24, 2013, 6:54 pm

    I tried the recipe, but found the sauce too salty and too sweet, but cutting back on the salt and tonkatsu sauce might give me a better result. loved the red wine!

    • Nami May 27, 2013, 11:27 pm

      Hi Tina! Thank you so much for your feedback! Yeah the sauce has sweet flavor to it (which kids love). I hope you can adapt the sauce nicely so it will be perfect next time. Thank you for letting me know. :)

  • Tina Driz August 20, 2013, 7:34 pm

    Hi Nami this hamburger looks delish and easy to make btw may I use any kind of red wine ty

    • Nami August 20, 2013, 10:57 pm

      Hi Tina! Since you only need a small portion, I’d buy one that you would like to enjoy drinking as well. :) Hope you enjoy this dish!

  • Holly | Beyond Kimchee April 9, 2014, 8:17 pm

    In Korea, we have a very similar dish called hambak steak. I think it is type of Salisbury steak but more with Japanese influence. I remember that my father often take my family to the restaurant and ordered this beautiful dish and how much I enjoyed. I think your recipe comes very similar to the flavor I remember. Thanks for sharing, Nami.

  • Justine April 29, 2014, 6:25 am

    Hi Nami,
    I want to make this recipe tonight but I don’t have red wine on hand. Can I omit it or any substitute?

    • Nami April 29, 2014, 7:28 am

      Hi Justine! For the flavor of hambagu, it is the best if you use wine. However if you don’t mind the difference, you could omit and use lower heat to cook (steam) the meat with the lid on after you flip. You could use a tiny bit of water or sake or white wine to keep it steam (without burning the meat). Hope this helps, and enjoy the recipe!

  • Nikki June 14, 2014, 10:31 pm

    Hi Nami! I’ve cooked this a lot of times and my family loves it. It’s one of our favorites :) I was wondering though, if I can grill it instead? Will it still be as juicy without the steaming part?

    • Nami June 15, 2014, 12:18 am

      Hi Nikki! I personally think that steaming part is quite important. Maybe you can cover with aluminum foil while you’re baking? That might help a bit. :)

  • Jessica June 22, 2014, 7:57 pm

    This looks amazing and I will definitely try to make it! How hard should I toss each ball of meat? Also, how hard should I press with my fingers to indent the patties? One more question, is it 3/4lb of pork and beef each (3/4 lb of pork and 3/4 lb of beef)? Thank you for posting this recipe!

    • Nami June 27, 2014, 8:12 am

      Hi Jessica! You don’t have to toss too hard, just a gentle catch ball between your hands. :) You need to create an indentation. In step 9, you see the meat patty next to my finger already has an indentation? Just like that. 3/4 lb is total amount. You can use all beef, if you like. Hope you enjoy this recipe! :)

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