Japanese Stewed Hamburger Steak (Hamgabu) with Easy Pantry Sauce | A Taste of Japanese Mom!

Japanese Stewed Hamburger Steak (Hamgabu) with Easy Pantry Sauce | A Taste of Japanese Mom!

What Hambagu means to us

Japanese Hamburger steak, affectionately known as Hambagu(ハンバーグ in Japanese), holds a special place in the hearts of Japanese people as a beloved home-cooked dish. It consistently ranks among the top favorite foods, often competing closely with curry rice for the number one spot.

Reflecting on childhood memories, Hamburg steak was not an everyday meal but rather a cherished treat. In my upbringing under my grandmother’s care, the sight of Hamburg steak on the table, especially for school lunches, filled me with immense joy.

Hambagu was my on wish list when I was a kid living on Southern Island

Growing up in Amami Oshima, known as one of the Blue Zones for its longevity-promoting diet, provided a rich culinary foundation. However, as a child, I didn’t always appreciate it. It was only later, upon gaining independence in the kitchen and mastering the art of cooking, that I fully embraced the joy of preparing Hamburg steak for myself and later for my own family.

What Hambagu mean to me as a mother

As a mother, I delighted in crafting Hamburg steak meals, with hearty 300g patties for dinner and the smaller version showcased here for lunch. Even now, as my son ventures through college life far from home, I ensure that a taste of home accompanies him in his monthly care packages—a comforting reminder of family and tradition.

It’s a special dish for Japanese people!

What makes Hamburg steak truly special for Japanese people is its fusion of Western flavors with a distinctly Japanese touch. Seasoned in a uniquely Japanese style, it exudes comfort and familiarity, perfectly complementing our rice-centric dining culture. The ideal Hamburg steak, in my opinion, strikes this delicate balance flawlessly.

Japanese Stewed Hamburger Steak with Easy Pantry Sauce

A Taste of Japanese Mom
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 large bowl
  • 1~2 frying pan


Meat Filling

  • 600 g 600g (1.3lb) ground beef and pork ※blend to your preference
  • 1 1 onion (150〜160g/5.5oz)
  • 1 1 large egg
  • 1 cup 1 cup Panko
  • 3 tbs whole milk
  • 1 ts salt
  • ½ ts black pepper
  • ½ ts ground nutmeg

Pantry Sauce

  • 5 tbs Tonkatsu sauce
  • 4 tbs ketchup
  • 1 tbs Sugar
  • 1 cup water (or chicken broth)
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 pakage Shimeji mushroom


Meat Filling

  • In the mixing bowl, combine panko and milk and let it absorb the moisture.
  • Mince onion.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef pork, and minced onion, egg, , salt, and pepper and nutmeg. Mix really well until everything is evenly incorporate and bind well. 
  • Divide the meat mixture into 16 equal-sized portions and shape them into oval patties.
  • Heat the frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the Hambagu patties and cook until browned on one side, about 2-3 minutes. flip over and cover; cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the patties from one pan and set them aside.

Pantry Sauce

  • In the same frying pan, add sliced onion, cook until soft to bring out the sweetness, add shimeji and cook until heated through.
  • Add Tonkatsu sauce, ketchup, sugar and water. Cook until boiling and then pour over the Hambagu patties.Cover the frying pan with a lid and let the patties simmer for about 10 minutes or until cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.And it’s done!
Keyword hambagu, hamburger steak, japanese hamburger steak
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