Recipe + Poem – Hamburger Steak

I spent all my day yesterday playing the Ghost of Tsushima and ended up just ordering takeout and eating it instead of straying away from my game. So, today, I wanted some comfort food with the flavors of summer. I opted for Hamburger Steak with Lemon Ponzu Sauce and grated Daikon, and of course, Rice.

When you play for the entire day, and before you realize it, it’s 2 AM. Yay! Video games 🀩🀩

My hamburger steak is based on the Japanese style Wafu Hanbagu (ε’Œι’¨γƒγƒ³γƒγƒΌγ‚°). I use two types of Soy Sauce for my Ponzu. One is Amakuchi (あまくけ しょうゆ), and the other one is Koikuchi (濃口醀油). Koikuchi is the Japanese version of the standard dark soy sauce, though it is a bit more fruity and less salty. However, Amakuchi is quite unique, despite being considered part of the Koikuchi family. Based on my research, Amakuchi or similar varieties of sweet soy sauce are used primarily preferred in the Southern islands of Japan, have slightly lower salt content, and are sweetened with various sweeteners. The Kikkoman Amakuchi that I use is sweetened with Licorice! Amakuchi is also great alongside Sashimi and Tuna Tartare!

Ponzu Ingredients!

I obviously went on a rabbit hole to research why the Southern islands prefer sweet soy sauce over the ‘normal’ Koikuchi. According to Dr. Utsunomiya, the regional difference in sweet preference is due to the Nanban trade route, which may have been further propagated by post-war (WWII) shortages of staple items and the manufacturer’s desire to make their products unique. I can do go on and on about this, but here is an excellent read for any of you who might be interested in it! (1)

Soy Sauce

The same Maillard
Of meat, and
What you deem
As pretty icky,
Come together;
And with age,
They meld to become,
Something new.
And it’s a varying brew,
Depending on what you seek.



Ponzu Sauce

  • 50 mL – Lemon Juice (I used fresh Lemons)
  • 25 mL – Dark Soy Sauce (濃口醀油)
  • 25 mL – Sweet Soy Sauce (あまくけ しょうゆ)
  • 4 x 4 – Dried Kept (or) 1 Sachet – Fish Broth Tea Bag
  • (Optional) 4 mL – Mirin

Hamburger Steak (makes 2)

  • 75 grams – Ground Beef (feel free to increase the amount of beef over pork)
  • 75 grams – Ground Pork
  • 50 grams – Minced Onion
  • 25 grams – Panko or Bread Crumbs (plain)
  • 100 mL – Milk
  • 1 gram – Nutmeg (a dash of it)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (I used about 5 grams)
  • 15 mL + 15 mL – Oil (total 30 mL)
  • 20 mL – Water
  • 20 grams – Grated Daikon (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Thinly sliced Scallion or Shiso Leaves for garnish

Optional Sides

  • Rice
  • Side Salad with Lettuce and Tomatoes
  • Miso Soup
  • Watermelon Balls


  1. I used 1:1 beef to pork ratio, but feel free to reduce or increase this based on your preference
  2. Get the Onions golden brown, so that you can get the innate sweetness out
  3. Let your Ponzu sit in the fridge for 1 hour or so, with the Kelp/Broth Tea Bag. This will really bring out the flavor.
  4. I do not use egg as a binding agent, because the milk and panko mixture gives the hamburger enough moisture and friction to hold all the ingredients together
  5. See picture. Throw the patty back and forth to knock the air out
  6. See picture. Shape to round and make a small dent at the center with your finger, to ensure even cooking
Tip 5 and 6!


  1. For the Ponzu Sauce – Combine all the ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (while you make the hamburger, cook the rice, etc..,)
  2. Mix the milk and panko together and set aside
  3. In a pan, add the 15 ml of the oil, and sautee the onions until they are golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the beef, pork, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and mix them together (like you would while making dough)
  5. Now add the sauteed onions, and milk and panko mixture, and combine everything
  6. Separate the mix into two sections, and roll them into balls, and follow step 5 in tips to get the air out
  7. Flat them into 1″ patties, and they are ready for the pan
  8. Heat up the same pan that you used to sautee the onions, and add the rest of the oil
  9. As soon as it starts smoking, add the two patties
  10. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side (medium flame)
  11. Now add the Ponzu sauce and water to the pan, close the pan, and let it steam for another 3-4 minutes or until the internal temperature reached 160Β° F
  12. Serve the Hamburger Steak with the reduced Ponzu sauce, grated daikon, and scallion

I hope you enjoy!! Do you guys play video games, by the way?

Hamburger Steak!

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