Japanese Hamburger Steak Recipe (Hambagu)
Hambagu is a Japanese hamburger steak, known as a hambak steak in Korean. Mixture of both ground beef and pork makes the patties soft, and the red wine sauce enhances the velvety texture of the steak. Top with a fried egg to enjoy the rich taste of hambagu.
Hambagu (Japanese hamburger steak) has a special place in my childhood memories. When my parents took me and my siblings to dine out in a western style restaurant every once in a while, I always ordered this Japanese version of hamburger steak.
Hambagu vs Hambak
Hambagu is called as hambak steak (함박 스테이크) in Korea. The old fashioned hamburger steak recipe entered many places around the world including Korea. The word “hambak” came from Hamburg, Germany where the hamburger patties are believed to be originated. And the Korean word hambak takes the sound of Hamburg.
Korean hambak steak was influenced by the Japanese version of hamburger steak (Hambagu) but Korean hambak steak recipe has its own twist with tomato sauce gravy, which I also love.
Every restaurant seemed to have different way of making this delicious and comforting steak. I like my Hambak steak made with the rich red wine sauce, similar to Japanese Hambagu. Now here is how I make.
How to make hambuerger steak (Hambagu)
Step 1. Caramelize onion
I like to saute the onion in butter until they are browned. This will add a slight sweetness to the beef patties and enhances the flavor.
Step 2. Form meat patties
Mix ground beef, ground pork, panko bread crumbs, egg, and milk in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. I also like to add a little bit of nutmeg. The nutmeg brings such a nice fragrance to the patties.
Form into slightly thick round or oval patties. As you form the patties, with the strong force (as if you are hitting the patties) throw the patties from one palm of your hand to the other several times. This helps the patties to hold together tightly as you cook.
Cook over medium-low heat until the crust gets browned. Then reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. This will help to cook the patties all the way without burning the crust.
Step 3. Red Wince Sauce for Japanese Hamburger Steak
Remove patties from the skillet, raise the heat and add the red wine.
Scrape any bits of meat crumbs, then reduce the wine a little bit to evaporate the alcohol.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the red wine reduction.
My families are Heinz 57 royal fans, so it would be my first choice. But if you are the A1 sauce person, go for it.
What to serve with Japanese Hambagu
I also like to top my hamburger steak with a fried egg on top.
I love how the velvety golden yolk wraps the rich flavored sauce and enhances the flavor all together. And the hambagu patties are so tender and juicy. It makes a great meal with some rice and a vegetable side dish (or simple salad).
Hope you can try this flavorful rich steak when you are in the mood for something different than the boring chicken casserole for dinner. You won’t regret!
More Ground Beef Recipes You Will Love
- Thick Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (A Big Batch Recipe)
- Easy Ground Beef Curry Recipe (Beef Keema Curry)
- Beef Meatballs with Pineapple Soy Glaze
- Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Onion Gravy
Japanese Hamburger Steak Recipe (Hambagu)
- 2/3 lb ground beef
- 2/3 lb ground pork
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs
- 4 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp oil
- 4 eggs, fried, optional
For the sauce
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp steak sauce, Heinz 57 or A1
- In a skillet over medium heat, saute onion in butter until golden and soft.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, pork, sauteed onion, egg, breadcrumbs, milk, and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper and mix everything well with your hand.
- Take a portion and form into a patty, then throw it forcefully from one palm of your hand to the other several times as if you are hitting the patty. This will enhance the texture of patty and hold its shape during the cooking. Repeat the rest of the patties.
- Poke the patties with your finger in the center to leave indentation.
- Heat skillet over medium heat, add some oil and drop the patties to sear the outside, about 2-3 minutes per side. Then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook. You can cover with a lid leaving a little opening for the steam to escape. This will ensure to cook the patties all the way. Remove the patties to a plate and keep warm.
- To make the sauce; raise the heat under the skillet where you cook the patties, splash the red wine and scrape off any meat pieces left in the skillet with a whisk. Let the wine reduce in half.
- Add the stock, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and the steak sauce. reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer to thicken. Drizzle the sauce over your steak and top with a fried egg on top (if you wish)
- Serve the steak with steamed rice and vegetable (or salad).