Japanese Gastronomy: Juicy Hamburger Recipe-Nikujiru Afureru Hanbaagu-肉汁あふれるハンバーグ


The Japanese make a clear distinction between hamburgers served sandwiched between buns or bread and open hamburgers.

They call the American variety served between buns “hanbaaga” whereas minced meat steaks (stak hache in French) “hanbaagu”! Very little diffrenec in pronuciation but big difference in concept and serving!

Moreover the Japanese like their “hanbaagu” as “juicy” as possible, which explains why so many people prefer the open hamburgers in this country.
Here is a slightly off the beaten tracks recipe which should please those who like their favorite food soft and juicy!

Bear in mind that I leave the quantities open to allow for personal priorities. This is only the basic recipe left open to many variations!


Finely ground meat: preferably a mixture of beef and pork. Beef only is fine (for hallal and kosher cuisinesin particular)!
Finely chopped onion
Black pepper
Milk (replace with light beef stock for kosher cuisine)
Butter (skip or use fake butter for kosher cuisine)
Balsamico vinegar
Optional spices: Chili pepper, etc.
Optional vegetables: finely chopped vegetables (garlic, carrits, etc.) to be added to chopped onion


Right away this recipe differs from more conventional ones:
On a cold frying pan drop finely chopped onion. Pour oil over the onion (not before dropping the onion in the frying pan) and stir-fry over low fire. This will allow oil to coat onion and prevent the taste to escape! Fry onion until they have become soft and transparent.
Let the onion cool completely first!

In a bowl drop the meat and add salt. Mix the salt in with a spatula.
Do not use your fingers! Otherwise the fat inside the meat will liquefy.

Mix the salt and meat until the meat attains a paste aspect. This requires some effort but this is one the keys for a juicy and soft “hanbaagu”!

Once you have achieved a paste form add onion, bredacrumbs, egg, milk, black pepper and mix well.
This time mix by hand! You should obtain a very sticky mixture than.

Note: as for salt added to the meat, the right amount is 0.8 % of the meat weight. This is the best amount to help control the amount of of water inside all ingredients. Too much salt and the meat will become watery. Not enough salt and the meat will dry down. A bit complicated, I understand! Actually this the amount of salt found inside a human body!

On a cold frying pan pour some oil. Deposit the hanbaagu over the oil and fry over a low fire.
A hot fire will mean a hard surface and a raw inside! Moreover the water contained inside the meat will escape and break the hanbaagu.
This is another important key to a juicy hanbaagu!

Do not put a lid over the meat! Other wise the temperature will rise too quickly and the hanbaagu will end flat!
Sponge off the first liquid coming out of the meat with kitchen paper as shown above.
When the bottom face has been properly cooked turn over and again sponge off any liquid coming out.

As an indication, once more than half of the meat has turned whitish it means that the bottom face is properly cooked. At this time turn the hanbaagu over.

It will take 12~13 minutes to cook the hanbaagu properly on both faces. When yo see some transparent juices seeping out the meat will have been cooked properly.

Take hanbaagu off the frying pan.
Add balsamico vinegar to the juices and reduce until half of it over a medium fire.
Add salt then if necessary.
Mix in some butter to liaise the sauce.
Place the hanbaagu over the sauce and coat both sides/faces and serve immediately with the rest of the sauce poured over the meat.

When you cut the hanbaagu it should be soft and well cooked but juices should not run out. But you bite it you will then be able to taste the juices inside the meat!

Bon appetit!


Shop with Intent by Debbie
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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