This post is by Kay, who writes the K’s Kitchen section of Todd’s Wanderings. She also happens to be Todd’s lovely wife!

How to make Japanese Hambagu Paddies

Only the Japanese can turn a meat loaf into a gourmet dish!

First of all, I have to apologize for my looong absence from K’s Kitchen. Here is my excuse…I was on bed rest from February to June due to some complications for my pregnancy and I couldn’t use use the computer much. The good news is that (A) our son was born in good health 4 weeks ago; and (B) K’s kitchen is back now :)

Today, I would like to introduce you to a ‘Japanese Western Food’ called ‘Hambagu’. Basically this is a dish made from ground beef and is similar to a rounded meatloaf or a salisbury streak. This dish originates from ‘Tartar Steak’ in Germany. It is not known exactly when this dish arrived at Japan but it’s sometime during Meiji Era (1868-1912) that similar dishes started to appear. In fact, beef was not common prior to this period in Japan. Since the 1950s, Hambagu (yes this is a very Japanese way to pronounce Hamburg) has become really popular as a home dish and its popularity continues today.

According to my husband (who is American and is familiar with the Japanese culture), the uniqueness of Hambagu in Japan as a foreigner is that this dish can be an expensive and posh dish and an economical dish at the same time. (Todd here: I mean seriously, who would serve a meatloaf at a five star restaurant!)

The recipe that I am introducing to you today is my mom’s special recipe (again!). The particular point for this recipe is that you bake the dish in an oven, while we normally only use a frying pan to cook it in Japan. This way, the juicy taste of the meat will remain. Enjoy this Japanese Western Food!!

Hambagu Ingredients (for 4 people)

Ground Beef: 240g

Ground Pork: 160g

Bread Crumbs: 60g

Milk: 100cc

Egg: 1

Salt: 1/2 teaspoon

Pepper, Nutmeg: a pinch or two each


Sherry (alcohol) 3 Tablespoons (if not available, you can also substitute with whisky or brandy)

Ketchup: 3 Tablespoons

Worcestershire Sauce: 1.5 Tablespoons

Chicken broth: 3 Tablespoons

Mustard: 1 Tablespoon

Mushrooms- sliced finely (as much as your like to cover each patty)

How to cook Japanese Hambagu (cooking/preparation time: 45-50 mins)

(1)   Chop onions finely, sauté, and cool them down.

(2)   Soak the bread crumbs in milk

How to Make Japanese Hambagu Mix

The Pate, trust me it gets better looking as the cooking continues

(3)   Put onions, bread crumbs in milk, salt, pepper, eggs, and nutmeg in a bowl and mix them.

(4)   Add ground beef and pork into the bowl and mix well with the ingredients in (3). Divide the pate into four.

(5)   Throw each piece from right to left hand to get rid of air in the pate and make a rectangular shape with 2 cm thickness. Push the middle part to make a dent.

(6)   Put 1.5 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the frying pan, heat it up, and fry the outside of the pate for 2-3 minutes to brown them.

(7)   Put vegetable oil onto the oven pan, put the hamburg pate, and bake them for about 13 min with 220 C.

(8)   Take out the hambagu patties from the pan, remove grease from the pan, and collect the remaining meat essence into a small pot.

(9)   Sauté mushrooms and put into (8), add the ingredients for sauce, and heat up until it boils. Serve the hamburg with the sauce on top.

You can also serve a side vegetable dish such as carrots grasse or sautéd beans, as you like.

What do you think? Have the Japanese perfected the meatloaf?

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4 Responses to “Japanese Hambagu Recipe (Japanese Gourmet Hamburger Patty? WOW)”

  1. Oh my god, just LOOKING at that first picture makes me hungry! The second one, of the pate, maybe not so much… But I think I might have to give these a try. My boyfriend loves ANYTHING meat related so these would be right up his alley! Thanks for the recipe :)


  2. Oh my God this looks so good and i`m sure that it is delicious too. I think that this is a easy recipe so i will give it a try, thanks a lot for sharing.

  3. I love Japanese hambagu and the sauce is what really makes a really good hambagu. Thanks for the recipe :)

    Japan Australia

  4. Congratulations on the birth of your son!

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