Wafu Hambagu is a scrumptious Japanese-style hamburger eaten without a bun. The meat patty is prepared until moist and flavorful, and garnished with daikon, shiso leaves and enjoyed with a ponzu based sauce.
If you are not familiar with the Japanese term “Hambagu” (ハンバーグ), it basically a thick ground meat patty that’s cooked in a frying pan, instead of grilled, and always served with some kind of sauce and without a bun.
I’ve posted the typical Hambagu recipe with thick Worcestershire-base sauce on Just One Cookbook before, and today I want to introduce you to this delicious Wafu Hambagu (和風ハンバーグ) version with a Japanese seasoning sauce.
Watch How To Make Wafu Hambagu 和風ハンバーグの作り方
Juicy and flavorful meat patties garnished with daikon and shiso leaves. Enjoy this Japanese Hambagu with a ponzu based sauce.
What is Wafu Hambagu?
Wafu Hambagu is Hambagu served with grated daikon and/or shiso leaves on top, along with a thin sauce which comes in a few variations. The thin sauce base can be made with dashi + soy sauce, Mentsuyu, or Ponzu.
Today I used ponzu because the fragrance and citrus flavor from ponzu works really well with refreshing daikon, and together they refresh your palate while you’re enjoying the juicy meat. I love this sauce quite a bit and besides hambagu, this sauce can be used for steak and other meaty dishes.
Secret to Great Tasting Wafu Hambagu
The key for Japanese hamburger steak is always use the combination of both ground beef and pork. This is the secret for juicy and flavorful meat patties.
If you use only ground beef, you will definitely taste the difference. Beef only patties are more dry and has less flavor compared to ones that also includes ground pork.
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- ½ onion
- 1½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 2 Tbsp milk
- ½ lb ground beef (½ lb = 226 g)
- ½ lb ground pork (½ lb = 226 g)
- 1 large egg
- 1 clove garlic (crushed or minced)
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
- 3 inch daikon (3" = 5 cm)
- 2 Shiso leaves (or scallion/green onion for garnish)
- ½ cup ponzu (See Notes for homemade recipe)
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp yuzu kosho (optional to make it spicy)
Gather all the ingredients.
- Mince the onion.
- Heat 1½ Tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl and let it cool.
- Mix panko and milk together.
- When the onion cools down, add all the ingredients into the large bowl.
- Mix all the ingredients together and knead the mixture until sticky (the mixture will become paler in color).
- Divide the mixture into 4 portions. Put a little bit of oil on your hand to avoid the meat sticking to the hands.
- Toss each portion of the mixture between your hands about 10 times to release the air inside the mixture (this will prevent the patties from breaking while cooking).
- Make oval shape patties. The top shouldn't be flat like typical hamburger patties, it should be more round. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking so that the meat combines together.
- After 30 minutes, take out the patties and bring to room temperature. Meanwhile, peel daikon and grate finely. Squeeze the liquid out of daikon.
- Cut off the edge of shiso and roll it up to chiffonade. If you use scallion instead, slice thinly.
- To make the sauce, combine ponzu, yuzu kosho, and sugar and whisk all together until sugar is dissolved.
- Heat 1½ Tbsp. vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat and place the patties down gently. Indent the center of each patty with because the center of patties will rise and expand with heat. Cook the patties for about 3-4 minutes and do not flip until nicely brown.
- Flip the patties and cover to cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the meat inside is cooked through.
- Add the sauce to the pan and increase the heat to medium high. Pour the sauce over the meat with a spoon while cooking for about 2 minutes.
- Move the patties to serving plates. Reduce the sauce a little bit while skimming off the fat (to make clear nice sauce). Pour the sauce into small serving bowl.
- Place the grated daikon on top of the meat patties and garnish with shiso (or scallion). Pour the extra sauce on top when you eat.
Daikon: Use top green part of daikon where it’s sweet and less bitter.
Ponzu: Homemade recipe, click here.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.