September 3, 2014

Gyudon Beef Bowl

I've always wanted to make my own gyudon. Gyudon translates to beef (gyu) bowl (don). It is such an unmistakably Japanese dish. I think the secret of a good gyudon lies in the sweet sauce that the beef cooks in. Of course, higher quality/marbling of beef will also elevate the dish, but the combination and ratio of soy, sugar, mirin and wine is the key in making this the ultimate Japanese comfort food. I found this easy recipe from Harumi Kurihara's cookbook I bought almost 10 years ago. She's like the Martha Stewart of Japan, minus the tax evasion. The sauce came out just right - sweet with depths of flavour from the soy and mirin. 

Slice the onion into thin half-moons.

I got pre-sliced beef at the supermarket intended for sukiyaki or hot pot.

I used white wine, but you can also use Chinese cooking wine or sake.

It is important to use Japanese soy sauce as it is sweeter than its Chinese counterpart and also has a thinner and clearer consistency.

Bring the wine and water to a boil.

Simmer the beef and skim the scum off the top.

Add the soy sauce, sugar and mirin.

 Add the onions. The original recipe called for an otoshibuta, which is a light-weight wooden drop lid placed directly on top of simmering food to distribute heat evenly. I didn't have one, so I improvised and used the lid from a smaller pan. Cook until the onions are soft.

The beef and onions soaked up all the delicious sweet and savoury flavours. I think I will add an onsen egg next time for its silky richness!

Recipe - adapted from Harumi's Japanese Cooking

For 2


½ cup white wine
¼ cup of water
½ an onion
250g thinly sliced beef
¼ cup Japanese soy sauce
¼ cup mirin
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 servings of cooked Japanese rice, kept warm 

  1. Slice the onions into thin half moon shapes.
  2. In a saucepan (I used a frying pan), add the water and the wine. When it comes to a boil, simmer the beef for 2 minutes. Skim the scum off the top. 
  3. Add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Mix well.
  4. Add the onions and cover with the lid of a smaller pan, until onions are soft.
  5. Spoon the beef and onion mixture on top of rice and drizzle with pan juices.

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