Note: This recipe is slated for a revision… Stay tuned for a revised version coming soon!
Hamburger steak, also referred to as hamburg (pronounced “han-baa-gu”) in Japan, is a version of Salisbury steak, a dish that was invented in America and has been eaten there since before the turn of the century.
Hamburger steak is basically a ground meat patty that is shaped into an oval to resemble a steak, and was designed first as a weight-loss food, and later popularized in Japan as a cheaper way to serve an otherwise expensive cut of meat.
Today, hamburger steak is a popular dish in Japan, and is served in many family-style restaurants and diners. In households around Japan, hamburger steak can be made from scratch, or found in grocery stores frozen or vacuum packed, and is served for dinner and even found in bento lunches.
It is an easy but hearty meal to make, which is probably one reason why it is so prevalent in anime: anyone can make it, even a middle or high school student! …I’m thinking right now of Ritsu (who is not made out to be the most domestically oriented) from K-On making some very appetizing hamburger steaks for dinner for the entire K-On-Bu (light music club) in episode 16!
In Uchuu Kyoudai episode 46, Kitamura’s family has a family dinner as they say goodbye to her before she leaves to train as an astronaut in Houston, Texas. Kitamura’s younger sister, Kei, makes her an especially delicious hamburger steak, which later helps Kei decide what she wants to do with her life….
So, let’s grasp our future like Kei and make some hamburger steak!
About the recipe:
This recipe is my go-to meal when I just don’t have any time on a busy weekday night, or if I can’t think of anything to cook…. It pairs wonderfully with steamed carrots and broccoli drizzled in a little teriyaki sauce! Just add a good dose of Japanese rice sprinkled with some sesame seeds, and you have a quick, easy, and satisfyingly yummy dinner.
I usually use this recipe to make 6 round patties, but you can also divide the meat mixture to make 3 oval “steaks”.
Cut it up the leftovers into bite-size pieces, or form the meat mixture into mini hamburger patties for a great addition to a bento too!
Either way you like it, hamburger steak (or, as I call them at home, teriyaki chicken burgers) are easy to make and do not take any particularly unusual ingredients… You should be able to find most of them in your local grocery store, and if you can’t, there are some substitutions you can use as well.
About the ingredients:
Panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs, is used in this recipe to absorb some of the moisture in the meat, making the hamburger patties more juicy, as well as a way to help the patties hold their shape. Because panko does not include bread crusts (unlike regular breadcrumbs), the best substitute is to use an equal amount of fresh white bread without crusts and ground into crumbs in a food processor. If in a pinch, regular breadcrumbs can also be used.
Teriyaki sauce is what makes this hamburger different from a traditional Western-style burger… You can buy it pre-made in a bottle, or you could whip you own up in almost no time at all! Read my post on teriyaki sauce for my mother-in-law’s recipe!
Unagi sauce (unagi meaning eel) is essentially a sweet and salty sauce similar to teriyaki sauce, but far more concentrated. The difference is that unagi sauce is quite thick and is typically brushed over grilled eel. In this dish, however, unagi sauce is used to add a burst of concentrated flavour to the hamburgers at the end of the cooking process. If you can’t find it in your area, don’t worry too much about it.
Hamburger Steak (Teriyaki Chicken Burgers)
Makes 6 round burgers, or 3 oval “steaks”, about 3 servings
- 1 pound lean ground chicken or turkey
- Half an onion, chopped
- 1 green onion, minced
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup panko
- Pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp teriyaki sauce, plus more drizzled on the cooked burgers
- About 3-4 tbsp unagi sauce
- Oil for cooking (about 2-3 tbsp)
1. Heat a pan on medium heat, with 1 tbsp of oil, until shimmering. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground meat, egg, panko, green onion, cooled cooked onion, pepper, and teriyaki sauce. Divide the meat mixture into 6 portions (for round burgers) or 3 portions (for oval “steaks”).
3. Heat a pan on medium heat, with 2 tbsp of oil, until shimmering. Using a spoon, gently add the meat mixture to the pan. Mound the meat in the pan and gently use a spatula to pat and flatten into patties. Round burgers should be about 1/2 inch thick, and about 3 inches across; oval “steaks” should be about 1 inch thick and 5 inches across.
4. Cook the patties until browned on the bottom, and then flip to cook the second side. Cover with a lid and cook until the juices begin to seep out of the patties, and the hamburger is cooked through. Adjust the heat accordingly in order to avoid burning the meat.
5. Uncover and cook off some of the liquid released by the meat until it is thickened slightly. If you would like more sauce, drizzle more teriyaki sauce on top of the burgers and cook to thicken the sauce. Finish by drizzling unagi sauce onto each burger, about 1-2 tsp per round burger or 1 tbsp per oval “steak”.
Serve with rice and drizzle the hamburgers with the sauce in the pan.
Source: My mother-in-law