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
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 to 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 drier and has less flavor compared to ones that also includes ground pork.
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Wafu Hambagu (Japanese Hamburger Steak)
- ½ onion
- 1 ½ Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.) (for cooking onion)
- ¼ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 2 Tbsp milk
- ½ lb ground beef (226 g)
- ½ lb ground pork (226 g)
- 1 large egg (50 g w/o shell)
- 1 clove garlic (crushed or minced)
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
For Cooking Patties
- 1 ½ Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.)
- 3 inch daikon radish (use the top green part of daikon where it’s sweet and less bitter)
- 2 shiso leaves (perilla/ooba) (or scallion/green onion for garnish)
- ½ cup ponzu (for homemade ponzu recipe, click here)
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp yuzu kosho (Japanese citrus chili paste) (if you like it spicy)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Mince the onion.
- Heat 1 ½ Tbsp 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.
- Meanwhile, peel daikon and grate finely. Squeeze the liquid out of daikon.
- Cut off the stem of shiso and roll it up. Cut into julienned pieces. If you use scallion instead, slice it thinly.
- To make the sauce, combine ponzu, yuzu kosho, and sugar and whisk all together until sugar is dissolved.
- Heat 1 ½ Tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium heat and place the patties gently. Indent the center of each patty with fingers because it 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 on medium low heat 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.