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Japanese Hamburger Steak – Hambagu

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We needed comfort food. So, I cooked our favorite Japanese Hamburger Steak – Hambagu. On our trips to Asia, we often stop by Japan for a few days after traveling to the Philippines. Food is one of the best attractions in Tokyo, be it traditional or Western-style. The Hambagu tops the list of dishes we often order. Filipinos love burgers. And Japanese beef is superb in all ways. The burger steak is hearty and familiar, whether for lunch or dinner.

We love the Hambagu so much that I’ve cooked it so many times over the years . My best resource for this recipe was my friend and food blogger Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook.  The process of cooking is simple and easy. Mix. Shape. Pan-fry. Simmer sauce. Serve.

In my American kitchen, I used a combination of ground beef and pork which packed the burger steak with robust flavors. The rest of the ingredients were my pantry basics. I’m sure they’re in yours, too.

Watch the patties sizzle in the skillet. Inhale the savory aromas of the soy sauce-based gravy as the steam from the pan floats up. Make these Hambagu now. In uncertain times, we thrive better when we feed and nourish those we love. Cooking comfort food is the best we can do. And it’s what we do best.

Japanese Hamburger Steak - Hambagu

The Japanese Hamburger Steak - Hambagu is a Western-style beef burger steak pan-fried and flavored with a thick, savory gravy. Filipinos love burgers and this dish has all the familiar flavors of a soy sauce-based entree. For my recipe version, I used both ground beef and ground pork. This cooks quick and easy for a family meal any day. This recipe was inspired by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. Serves 4.
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese
Keyword: Japanese Hamburger Steak Beef Hambagu
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 539kcal
Author: Asian in America


  • Large Skillet: 12-inches diameter


For the Hamburger Steak:

  • 1 whole onion chopped; Divided, use half for burger patties, rest for garnish
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil Divided; Use 2 Tablespoons for onions saute; Rest for pan-fry of patties
  • 1/3 cup red wine

For Sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 Tablespoons red wine
  • 6 Tablespoons water
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato catsup
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Kikoman Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley for garnish

For serving:

  • steamed rice


To prepare meat patties

  • In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When oil is hot enough, add half of the onions and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the onions.
    In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauteed onions with the ground beef and pork, egg, milk, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Incorporate well.

To shape the meat patties:

  • For every meat patty, use 2 tablespoons of the ground beef-pork mixture. Shape into patties.
    Toss each ball from hand to hand, for about 5 times. This is to release the air inside the balls. This method also prevents the patty from cracking while cooking, according to Namiko Chen.
    When all the patties have been shaped, refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.

To pan-fry patties:

  • Using the same large skillet, add the rest of the oil. Over medium-high heat, add the beef-pork patties. Indent the center of each patty with 2 fingers.
    Cook each side for 5 to 6 minutes. Using a turner, flip the patties to brown evenly.
    Pour the red wine. Cover the skillet. Continue cooking for 6 minutes more so that the wine incorporates into the beef.
    Remove the cover and turn off heat. Transfer the burger patties to a serving plate, keep warm and set aside.

To make the sauce:

  • In a bowl, combine the sauce ingredients except for the butter.
    Using the same skillet, over medium heat, add the butter. When butter has melted, add the mixture of sauce ingredients. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes till sauce reduces to a slightly thicker consistency. The wine's scent should have also evaporated by now.

To serve:

  • Pour the wine-reduced sauce over the burgers. Sprinkle the chopped parsley and rest of the chopped onions for garnish.
    Serve warm with steamed rice.

Cook's comments:

  • In Tokyo, whenever we ordered these Japanese Hamburger Steaks, it was often served with assorted steamed vegetables and even mashed potatoes on the side. Rice was always served instead of bread. I do the same when I cook this dish at home.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 539kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 226mg | Potassium: 438mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 199IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]


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  1. Hello Betty Ann

    I’m so pleased to find your site! We are in the UK and eat a largely East Asian diet, especially since my husband was diagnosed with diabetes. I’m great fan of Nami’s site but I hadn’t got round to trying her hambagu recipe. I see you have an air fryer. Have you tried the hambagus in it? I just bought an IP crisp + air fryer so I’m looking for recipes for it.

    best regards


    1. Thanks for the kind words, Susie. You made my day. Glad to be of help with recipes for every day home cooking. Yes, Nami of Just One Cookbook is a great resource and good friend. I have more Air Fryer recipes coming up. Stay tuned.

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