This is classic Japanese comfort food, exactly what you would expect from an all-night diner in Tokyo. Hambagu is just a simply seasoned burger served with gravy over hot rice. It’s simple and comforting and just a tiny bit different than a hot hamburger sandwich you’d find anywhere along the Alaska Highway. It’s those teenie differences that can make this meal a totally different experience, though.

And like any other hamburger it’s really all about the toppings, so if there’s any doubt, definitely go for the fried egg. And do not skimp on the gravy.

If you’re looking to really dive into those toppings you can find Kewpie mayo at Save On Foods, and schichimi at the Superstore. Kewpie is just a little different than North American mayo; a bit richer and slightly sweeter. Schichimi is a dried condiment made of a mixture of toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, chilis, poppy seeds and orange peel. Both are fantastic additions to anyone’s culinary repertoire so don’t be afraid to invest in either or both. You’ll find a thousand uses for each, I promise.

Japanese Hamburger (Hambagu)

Japanese Hamburger (Hambagu)

Yield: 8

This is classic Japanese comfort food, exactly what you would expect from an all-night diner in Tokyo.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds ground meat (moose, bison, caribou)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tsp soy sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine meat, garlic, ginger, breadcrumbs, egg whites and soy sauce and mix with your hands until evenly combined. Divide into 8 equal portions and form into evenly sized patties.
  2. When ready to cook, heat a large frying pan over medium high heat, add a drizzle of vegetable oil and cook the hamburgers until desired doneness, trying to get a good brown crust on each side.

Gravy

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dark stock, divided (beef stock works well)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

1. Place all but ¼ cup stock in a pot and bring to a simmer, add soy sauce, sugar and rice vinegar. Mix together cornstarch and remaining stock and whisk until smooth.
2. Add to the simmering stock and continue to whisk until mixture has thickened, season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Assemble

INGREDIENTS

2 cups rice, cooked
4-8 eggs, optional
Oil (only if you’re using eggs)
Kewpie mayo, to garnish
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Sliced scallions, to garnish
Shischimi, to garnish

METHOD

1. If you’re going to top the burgers with fried eggs, then heat a non-stick skillet over high heat and add a drizzle of oil. Break the eggs into the pan and cook until whites are just set and the yolks are runny.
2. Divide cooked, hot rice between four plates, top with burgers, then fried eggs (if using) then gravy and any additional toppings. Serve hot.