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Wafu Hambagu 和風ハンバーグ

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    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.

    Japanese Hamburger Steak, Wafu Hambagu and salad on a plate.

    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.

    Japanese Hamburger Steak and salad on a plate.

    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.

    Japanese Hamburger Steak with salad on a plate.

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    4.79 from 14 votes
    Simple, tasty, and easy-to-follow Japanese Hamburger Steak (Wafu Hambagu) recipe. Easy Japanese Recipes at
    Wafu Hambagu (Japanese Hamburger Steak)
    Prep Time
    20 mins
    Cook Time
    30 mins
    Total Time
    50 mins
    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.
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: hamburger steak, meat patty
    Servings: 4
    • ½ onion
    • 1 ½ Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, 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/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; Use half for table salt)
    • freshly ground black pepper
    For Cooking Patties
    • 1 ½ Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Wafu Hambagu Ingredients
    2. Mince the onion.
      Wafu Hambagu 1
    3. 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.

      Wafu Hambagu 2
    4. Mix panko and milk together.
      Wafu Hambagu 3
    5. When the onion cools down, add all the ingredients into the large bowl.
      Wafu Hambagu 4
    6. Mix all the ingredients together and knead the mixture until sticky (the mixture will become paler in color).
      Wafu Hambagu 5
    7. Divide the mixture into 4 portions. Put a little bit of oil on your hand to avoid the meat sticking to the hands.
      Wafu Hambagu 6
    8. 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).
      Wafu Hambagu 7
    9. 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.
      Wafu Hambagu 8
    10. Meanwhile, peel daikon and grate finely. Squeeze the liquid out of daikon.
      Wafu Hambagu 9
    11. Cut off the edge of shiso and roll it up to chiffonade. If you use scallion instead, slice thinly.
      Wafu Hambagu 10
    12. To make the sauce, combine ponzu, yuzu kosho, and sugar and whisk all together until sugar is dissolved.
      Wafu Hambagu 11
    13. 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.

      Wafu Hambagu 12
    14. Flip the patties and cover to cook on medium low heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the meat inside is cooked through.
      Wafu Hambagu 13
    15. 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.
      Wafu Hambagu 14
    16. 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.
      Wafu Hambagu 15
    17. 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.
      Wafu Hambagu 16
    Recipe Notes

    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.


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