Gyudon Beef Bowl – Ubiquitous in Japan
When I was a poor college student, one of my favorite places to eat is Yoshinoya, the Japanese fast-food chain specializing in rice bowls, or donburi.
If you have tried Yoshinoya, you will know that gyudon, or simmered beef with onion served on top of a bowl of warm steamed rice is their signature dish.
As a starving student, gyudon was my perfect meal and I enjoyed eating it.
The gyudon beef bowl has pretty much launched the Yoshinoya restaurant empire, now with over 1,400 locations in Japan and the world!
Gyudon is Popular for a Reason – Easy to Make
Gyudon (牛丼) is a popular dish in Japan.
Packed in bento boxes, disposable styrofoam bowl or plastic boxes, gyudon can be can be found pretty much anywhere in Japan: train stations, food section at supermarkets, or local convenient stores such as 7-Eleven.
It’s also a homey dish that many Japanese home cooks prepare at home.
The reason is simple: gyudon is delicious and makes a filling meal.
The cooking method of gyudon is very similar to sukiyaki donburi, a recipe that I have shared a couple of months ago.
With gyudon, it’s actually easier, with easy-to-find everyday ingredients, but the taste is equally tantalizing.
Four Key Ingredients for Japanese Cooking
When I first started learning about Japanese cooking, my Japanese friend told me that there are four key ingredients in Japanese cuisine: soy sauce, mirin, sake, and dashi (bonito and kelp stock).
She also told me to get a good dashi-based soy sauce or soup base.
She said that once I have mastered the harmony of these four key ingredients, I would have mastered basic Japanese recipes.
She is absolutely right.
Nowsdays, I never run out of my Mizkan Honteri Mirin and Mizkan (Bonito Flavored) Soup Base.
Hearty Japanese Beef Bowls
I find gyudon especially hearty and satisfying during the cold fall/winter months.
Make a big batch of steamed rice and the simmered beef.
When you are ready for dinner, scoop a generous portion of the beef on top of the rice and let the simmered sauce absorbed into the rice.
Everyone has a Japanese beef bowl in their hands as they eagerly shovel the beef, onion and rice into their mouth.
For the adventurous eater, crack a raw egg on top of the gyudon.
If you have leftover, pack your gyudon into a bento for your loved ones the next morning.
Gyudon makes a happy meal in my family.
Try my gyudon recipe and I hope your family will enjoy it, too.
Gyudon Recipe (Japanese Beef Bowl)
Japanese Beef Bowl Gyudon - easy & delicious simmered beef with onion, soy sauce and rice. Takes 15 minutes to make.
- Water for boiling
- 1/2 lb thinly sliced beef for sukiyaki, cut into pieces
- 1/2 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon chopped scallion
- Beni shoga
Bring a pot of water to boil. Turn off the heat and add the beef into the water, and immediately scoop them out with a strainer and set aside. DO NOT overcook the beef. Discard the water.
Mix all the ingredients in the sauce in a small bowl. Stir to combine well.
Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the onions and grated ginger and saute until the onion becomes soft. Add the beef and the Sauce into the skillet, stir to combine well. Stir the beef and onion a few times and turn off the heat.
Fill the rice bowls with steamed rice and top the simmered beef on top of the rice. Garnish with some chopped scallion and beni shoga. Serve immediately.
By scalding the beef with hot boiling water, the beef is clean with no white foamy bits. You will notice that the water will turn brownish with residue in the water. If you can’t find thinly sliced beef, buy the ribeye, freeze it and slice with very sharp knife. The key is to slice the beef really thin.