In Japan, the entire top floor of every department store is a restaurant. There is the main restaurant (called
the family restaurant) and pockets of other foods, such as Chinese corner, Korean, Italian and so forth.
My Father was a movie buff and when he was available on weekends, he took his three girls to the movies. After movies, we went to the top floor of the department store, to the family restaurant for a late lunch. My two older sisters were adventurous and would order different dishes every time. However, I never betrayed my favorite dish, hanbāgu steak, which came with a choice of rice or spaghetti and some veggies on the side. To this day, when I go to Japan, without fail, I visit my favorite hanbāgu restaurant, Tsubame Grill (photo on right), to make my visit official.
Japanese hanbāgu/Hamburg steaks are similar to what are known as Salisbury steaks in the USA. This German original was introduced to Japan by U.S. immigrants. Average Japanese home-cooks use the ingredients, beef, pork, or a blend of the two, mixed with sautéed diced onions, egg, soaked fresh breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese dried white breadcrumbs) in milk and seasonings. At Tsubame Grill, they use 7:3 ratio of beef and pork, briefly kneaded with other ingredients. After being briefly browned, each patty is wrapped in aluminum foil with house special sauce, a piece or two of seasoned/caramelized fat and further cooked, in foil, over a grill.
In some higher end hotel restaurants, meats are not blended nor breadcrumbs soaked in added milk.
With this recipe, you are in for a high end version treat!
Hanbāgu Steak • ハンバーグステーキ • Hamburg Steak
• 300gr / 10.5 oz (large) onion diced
• 570gr / 1¼ lb lean ground beef
• 2 large eggs
• 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• ¾ tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
• 1~2 Tbsp parsley or herb of choice
• vegetable oil
- Using a 10-inch non-stick skillet, heat 4 Tbsp of oil on medium-heat and caramelize the diced onion
(16~18 minutes). Turn off the heat. Using strainer over a bowl, drain the onion. Empty onion into a medium bowl and set the bowl with the oil aside (it will be used to fry the hanbāgu). Skillet will be used again.
- To the medium bowl with onion, add meat, eggs, butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and parsley. (For home-style, you may add ½ cup of panko, well-soaked in 3 Tbsp whole milk.) Knead briefly.
Make 8 tight patties. Make a dent in the center of the patties, for a smooth, even-frying finish.
- Using the same skillet, on medium-heat, add the oil from the onion and 2 Tbsp more. When oil is heated, add the patties. Fry each side until browned as shown in the photo.
- Hanbāgu may be served as preferred. They are served with tonkatsu sauce/a thick Worcestershire sauce, demi-glacé sauce with vegetable or salad sides, Japanese version served with grated/puréed radish/daikon and sautéed mushrooms with soy-sauce based sauce, or occasionally, in Japanese curries.
Examples of serving style shown in the above photo:
A. 4 Tbsp of wine evaporated in 4 Tbsp melted butter.
B. Topped with over-easy, fried egg.
C. Topped with sliced chives.
D. Topped with marinara sauce.
E. Topped with natural cheese.
F. Topped with a slice of tomato, covered with diced onion and anchovy.
~ どうぞめしあがれ / Douzo Meshiagare ~
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