Japanese Salisbury Steak Recipe

Popular in Japanese family restaurant: Hambagu

Japanese Salisbury Steak (Hambagu)

Japanese Salisbury Steak (or hambagu) is something I used to eat during my childhood summers spent in Japan. My grand mother lived in an area of the south called Yame, in the city of Kurume. There wasn’t much to do except go shopping at a department store called Kotobukiya. I would get giddy and so happy whenever it was time for a shopping trip!

okosama lunch

Kid’s lunch in Japan is called Okosama lunch.

Putting on my pink Hello Kitty shoes, one of my many frilly dresses, and a cherry patterned hat, I’d wait by the entrance until my brother (who was always outside playing), mom, grand mother Narue and aunt Tomie were ready to leave. Just like all department stores in Japan, Kotobukiya had a family restaurant on the top floor. I loved looking at the display of plastic food dishes – bowls of udon and ramenkatsudonchahan, curry rice (one of my ultimate favorites to this day), bento boxes, and tall ice cream sundaes.

My beautiful mother, grand mother, cousin, brother and myself.

My beautiful mother, grand mother, cousin, brother and myself.

Striking a pose at the age of 4

Striking a pose at the age of 4

Waiting for the bullet train

Waiting for the bullet train

On the days I didn’t order curry, the Okosama lunch (for kids) was my go to meal, because of the deliciously moist Japanese Salisbury Steak. Everything was served so neatly and small; as part of an Okosama lunch, it came with corn soup, rice, potato salada, vegetables, and custard pudding for dessert (with a decorative flag planted on top).

I barely understood Japanese yet experienced so much joy by just looking around and feeling happiness and love among us. My brother would quickly scarf down his meal and take off on his own (his nickname was ‘the tornado’) back to the robot toys and video games section. I on the other hand, liked to play ladies luncheon, putting one elbow on the table while nodding at random Japanese words. It was pure bliss. I cherish these memories very close to my heart, especially now that my grand mother is no longer with us.

I’m sharing with you today my favorite Japanese salisbury steak recipe; it’s simple, easy and so tasty! The beef patty is made with a mix of ginger, garlic, panko breadcrumbs and an egg. It is then pan fried and served with a beefy, salty gravy and topped with freshly grated daikon.

Serve this Japanese salisbury steak recipe with a side of coleslaw, some sweet corn with creamy miso sauce or a bowl of comforting mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy.


Japanese Salisbury Steak Recipe

japanese salisbury steak

This is an easy Japanese salisbury steak recipe your kids will love! Only 25 minutes to make from start to finish!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Japanese, Beef


  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs


  • 3 scallions (finely chopped)
  • daikon (grated (optional))


  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl put the ground beef, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sake, egg, and panko breadcrumbs. Mix well using your fingers and make one big ball.
  2. Cut it into quarters – this way you’ll end up with 4 patties the same size.
  3. In a large pan over high heat, add the patties and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
  4. Making the sauce
  5. Heat up the beef stock and set aside.
  6. Put the sugar and flour into a medium size pan.
  7. Add soy sauce and use a whisk to mix and create a paste.
  8. Slowly add the stock to the paste, whisking constantly to prevent clumping.
  9. Turn the heat on and bring to a boil, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
  10. Serve the patties with the sauce, sprinkle some scallions and top with grated ginger.


  • Calories: 455
  • Saturated Fat: 7
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