Friday, 15 August 2008


Ever since I started cooking for my family, I have been cooking dishes 'anyway' I like. I don't usually follow recipes closely and I have a tendency to take short cuts. Things started to change after I read a Japanese-Chinese cookbook. It is a great book, with many step-by-step photos to illustrate how to go about preparing the ingredients for cooking. It provides many useful tips and explains why certain steps have to be adhered to. It even includes details on when to turn up or turn down the heat while you are cooking the dish. For the first time, I was very disciplined and followed the recipe of a hamburger patty to a T.

This Hanbagu, the Japanese version of a hamburger, is served on a plate and not sandwiched between a bun. Besides the basic salt & pepper seasonings, eggs, onions, and bread crumbs are also added to the ground beef. Unlike most beef patty recipes I have seen, the minced onions are first sauteed before mixing with the meat. Although it seems like an extra step, I thought it is a good idea as I believe my kids would find the taste of the sauteed onions more bearable ;)

For a quick and simple weekday lunch, I served the hanbagu with some blanched french beans, carrots and cherry tomatoes. Thanks to the clear cooking instructions in the book, the meat patties turned out to be very juicy. The patties were 'steam-cooked' midway...this helped to retain the juice and yet ensured the patties were cooked through. I was quite skeptical about the instructions for making the sauce though. There was no cooking involved, the sauce was made simply by mixing some ketchup with Worcestershire was too simple to be true. I tasted the mixture and it gave a real yucky taste! Nevertheless, I trusted the cookbook and went ahead to serve it with the hanbagu. To my amazement, the sauce actually went quite well with the meat patty! It tasted as if it was prepared with red wine?! As expected, my kids love the hanbagu, but made noise about the sauce :( I guess it would take sometime for them to acquire the taste, so in the mean time, I would have to look for another recipe for the sauce.

(serves 4)

1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
400g ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
some pepper to season
4 tablespoons bread crumbs
3 tablespoons milk

mix 2 tablespoons ketchup with 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  1. Saute onion with butter, until onions turn transparent, set aside, let cool completely.
  2. Soak the breadcrumb in milk, mix a little and set aside.
  3. Place ground beef in a bowl, add beaten egg, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add in the cooked onion and breadcrumb mixture. Mix the mixture with hands until it becomes sticky.
  4. Make four meat balls and toss each ball from one hand to the other hand a few times. This helps to prevent the meat patty from breaking into pieces during frying.
  5. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the meat patties over medium heat for 1~2 mins. Turn over and fry for another 1~2 mins. When both sides are lightly browned cover the pan with a lid and turn to Low heat. Allow to cook for about 7~8 mins. Remove the lid and cook until both sides are evenly browned. You can insert a toothpick or a skewer into the centre of the beef patty. If the juice runs clear the patties are done.
  6. Dish out the patties and serve with the the sauce.
Recipe source: 轻松学做菜: 烹饪秘诀195


RheaG said...

hi...this is the first time i am posting a comment on your blog although i am an avid reader :)

this looks delicious...very simple yet mouthwatering. can't wait to try it too :)

Cuisine Paradise said...

Wow.. this look so delicious and the meat look juicy leh... will give it a try soon... Thanks for sharing... :) Have a great weekend......

Yuri said...

haha, follow the recipe closely, sounds like the advice given by dear cyber fren of ours, vb :) i'm also learning it cos i'm so used to "anyhow" cook ... good job with hanbagu!

Happy Belly said...

Hi, I made these last week as well!! Maybe you would take a look at my recipe based on another japanese cookbook. I am happy with my recipe as the worcestershire sauce taste isn't very overpowering. Cheers

Happy Homebaker said...

hi rheag, I'm so glad that you left a comment...otherwise I would not have discovered your blog :)

Ellena, do give it a try, but it would be better if you make your own sauce.

Hi Yuri, I've never really liked cooking...I have no one to learn from and so I have to rely on books, and you would probably know that most cook books are not really meant for beginners :(

Thanks Happy Belly, I'll certainly try your recipe the next time I made these!

Anonymous said...

this looks very tempting especially with the sauce on the top, yum!

don't know where else to ask, but do you butter the sides of your chiffon tin before baking and unmold the cake from the tin once it's cooled?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Jenny, do not grease the chiffon tin before baking. The batter needs to cling on to the side of the ungreased pan to rise. Once the cake is removed from the oven, invert it immediately. Let if cool off completely before unmolding.

Anonymous said...

hmmm...that looks very tasty indeed! i'm sure cooked onions were more palatable to children as they're not as strong as the raw ones.

i gave you an award if you want to take a peek in my blog!

Yossi said...

I tried this recipe and it was delicious! The patties were really moist and juicy. I find the sauce to be a little strong, so I added some water and sugar.

Thanks a lot for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

thank you for the advice.
i'm excited to try one of your chiffon cakes and hope for the good results!

Elin Chia said...

Mouthwatering indeed. Thanks for sharing such a nice burger.


Mer said...

Yum! This looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

can u share where u got the book from?

ah Teo said...

wow...i might just give this a try! it looks simple and delicious. definitely something i can handle. is it possible that I can make it medium rare?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Eliza, thanks for the awards!!

Hi Yossita, glad to hear that you like this recipe too :)

Hi Jenny, I look forward to hearing great news from you :D

Elinluv, Mer, thanks!

Hi Twistlyn, I borrowed the book from the library.

Hi ah Teo, I don't see any problem with it :)

RheaG said...

hi, i've tried your recipe and it was really great. can't wait to try the other recipes posted here in your site.

Anonymous said...


May I ask wat is the bread crumbs to use? Is it normal bread broken into some little crumbs or something tt's specially made for cooking? Kindly enlighten me, thanks

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, bread crumbs are usually use for coating meat before deep frying. You can take a look of the description over here:
Hope this helps :)

Anonymous said...


Thanks for letting me know abt the bread crumbs. I cook this for lunch today and it is SO YUMMY :) My husband who normally doesnt like beef ate a big patty by himself. Thanks for sharing the joy of cooking!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, I'm glad to hear that you like this recipe too :)

Cyber Kitchen said...

If you make them at meatballs size you will get the traditionall Swedish meatball, same as they sell in IKEA.
The sauce for swedish meatballs (Köttbullar) called brown sauce.Do Becahmel, put some meat fondue + soja sauce, mix a small amount of wheat flour with cream until solve and add to sauce. Putt the rest of cream and season with salt & black pepper.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi cyber kitchen, thanks so much for the info! Your tips will certainly help me when I try make Swedish meatballs on of these days :)

Anonymous said...


just want to say a big thank you to you for sharing this recipe...i tried it last Sat and the patty was really very juicy and not dry at all. Mine is a bit salty though as i have added more salt than required...The sauce is great and my kids like them. will make them again!


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Octopusmum, glad to hear that your kids like these :) This recipe is indeed a keeper, I have use it to make hamburger patties and recently I made meatballs pasta with this recipe. It was really delicious!

Anonymous said...


I made this over the weekend, and my hubby and kids love it - two thumbs up from them. My elder daughter thinks that it is much better than those from Hard Rock. Thanks for making me feel like a super duper mummy!

Do have a great day ahead!

Anonymous said...

i agree it's a bit tempting but i don't think i'll trry it though.

Domestic Dreamer said...

This is a really great recipe, I've never made burgers so tasty before. It's definitely a keeper. I used 500g of beef mince, dried onion flakes since I didn't have any fresh onion on hand, used 2 small eggs and more salt. I microwaved a small amount to taste test so I could get the flavour just right before frying. Thank you so much for sharing!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Maiko, thanks for sharing how you have made your burgers :) You can try mixture of beef and pork has got more fat, and that extra fat will make the burgers even more tasty ;p

Anonymous said...


i am going to make this again this sat. but from previous experience, the qty was too much. may i know if it is okay to make the rest into meat balls, then freeze them?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Octopusmum, although I have not tried it, I think there shouldn't be any problem freezing them. If not, you can reduce the amount by half. Nowadays, I will mix half portion of ground beef with half portion of ground pork (from meat with some fat, not lean meat). The taste is even better as the fat from the pork will make the meat balls even more juicy.

Anonymous said...


wow, you are really fast with your replies! thks for the advice


Anonymous said...

i mixed half beef half pork and yes, the patty was juicier but not sure why, we were v thirsty the whole day after that. it wasn't salty at all so i really don't know the reason. it was okay the first time i cooked u happen to know why?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Octopusmum, I don't know the reason why, but I don't think it is due to the mixture of half pork and half beef. Could it be due to the sauce?

Anonymous said...

i didn't make the sauce this time is okay, thks for the reply!

Selma - DUSBAHCESI said...

Hi, I'm writing from the Netherlands. i've discoverd your blog yesterday. I like it very much! Btw, we have the same plate :) Check my blog! What a coincidence :))

Rumela said...

Wow! this hanbagu looks delicious....easy to make, this tasty juicy meat dish can perfectly accompany a juicy gossip at any party. I am going to make this on my anneversary.

TheRoosterChick said...

Oh yeah, that looks goood!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes. Can I replace breadcrumbs with oats ? Tks.


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Jen, no, I don't think you can replace the breadcrumbs with oats.