Hamburg Steaks or Hanbaagu/Hambaagu in the Japan Times


This month's Japanese Kitchen column in the Japan Times is about hanbaagu or hamburger steak, which is more akin to a Salisbury steak in the U.S. than a the type of hamburger that's served on a bun. Hanbaagu is a very popular dish in Japan; as I wrote in my previous post, it ranks as one of the most popular dishes amongst Japanese kids, and is a home-cooking staple.

I've written about hanbaagu previously on this site, but this time I've delved a bit more into the history - although to be honest I couldn't find out a whole lot. There doesn't seem to be a definitive starting point for hanbaagu as there is for say, spaghetti Napolitan, another yoshoku (Japanese Western-style cuisine) dish, which was invented by a chef at a hotel in Yokohama.

There's also a recipe for a simmered-type version of hanbaagu, which is easier to keep tender than the plain pan-fried version. Whichever version you prefer though, the key is to use ground meat that's not too lean. I've indicated at least 8% fat content, but you may want to go a bit higher (e.g. 15%, which is about what ground beef chuck contains) for juicer patties.

Filed under:  beef japan writing elsewhere yoshoku japantimes

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I've always thought of hambaagu as kind of like a mini meatloaf. No?

Hello Maki-san!

I stumbled upon your blog yesterday evening and am happy to say I spent most of the night and today devouring your Howto's, especially the Japanese Cooking 101. Just before I discovered your blog I had ordered my first basic set of Japanese ingredients - luckily pretty much the same stuff you recommended in your 101, even though in hindsight I should've ordered more Katsuobushi and less Dashi powder ;) I just wanna say thank you for making the Japanese cousine so easily accessible and fun to read, while still providing the most detailed information that I could find online. I'll be sure to read and try a lot of your recipes as soon as the ingredients arrive and I have tackled the 101.
Regarding the latter: In the last entry of that series you mentioned a possible continuation. Are there any news regarding this matter?

All the best wishes, and thank you again :)

I'm always astonished -- actually, mesmerized -- by the quality of beef video-chefs use for what's meant to be simple washoku home cooking. It's the same sort as I see in Katagiri in NYC: that glorious fatty network (80's girl band no doubt), pink and succulent, utterly beautiful.

My beloved butcher has fine Prime meats, but these cuts I see in Japanese cooking videos aren't something I feel I'd want to bring up in friendly conversation with him.