Tostzilla's Gyudon (Beef Bowl) Recipe

I tried gyudon at a Yoshinoya on my first visit to Tokyo four years ago and it made an impression that stuck.  It ate it at a small outlet in Ginza where people were continuously coming and going.  There was also an interesting assortment of people dining out at the time from businessmen to some people who were really down and out on their luck.  Beef bowl is a cheap and very tasty meal that is for everyone which is also why it is a favoured meal for students in anime (along with cup noodle).
When we went back to Tokyo this year we just did not have time to try Yoshinoya, but did have dinner at a Sukiya one night.  Apparently my beef bowl recipe that I cook up holds up pretty good based on my family reactions so I'm happy :)  Anyhow, back in Edmonton, Canada, where this I reside, there are no places to eat this around here so I had to figure out how to cook it myself.  The recipe I came up with is based on my trial and error and I cook up a batch every week or two weeks. 

Beef Bowl or 牛丼 in Japanese
This is a very simple dish for dinner or lunch with the advantage of being very delicious too and easy to make.  This is similar to the famous dish at Yoshinoya or Sukiya.

  • 500g (a pound) thinly sliced beef, cut into 5 cm wide slices that are 1-2 mm thick.  You can use the frozen beef slices that you get for beef hot pot.  This is not lean beef as it should have some fat / marbling.  You just have to slice into narrower strips.  The beef should be tender when cooked.
  • 1 large onion, or two medium onions cut into thin slices
  • 2 teaspoons of cooking oil to cook the beef.
  • 4 tablespoons sake (Typical drinking sake - not cloudy, not flavoured).
  • 4 tablespoons mirin.  (Try to get real mirin [not the corn syrup stuff] from Taiwan, Korea, or Japan - keep it in the fridge afterwards).
  • 4 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce (e.g. Kikkoman, and not Chinese soy sauce that is saltier)
  • ¾ cup of dashi broth (You can try the instant dashi broth that comes in little packets of powder - otherwise you'll have way too much to use.  I use one of the little packets to mix with the water).
Instant Dashi Broth
Directions: This Recipes Serves 4 people.
  1. Cook rice – at least 4 big bowls worth for your meal (I use an Asian rice cooker so this is automagic - I mean automatic).
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan to a medium high heat.
  3. Sauté the onion until it becomes slightly translucent (wilted and not caramelized).
  4. Add the beef in and brown the beef (cook thoroughly – browning for flavour)
  5. When it achieves an even brown color, add the mirin, sake, soy sauce, and dashi  and continue frying.
  6. Simmer (say 10 - 15 minutes) under a medium heat until the sauce becomes somewhat thicker.  The sauce is not supposed to be thick as it should run through the rice when put on top.
  7. Put rice in a bowl, and place the beef mixture evenly over the top.  You might to dish out a little extra sauce too.
  8. Serve.  You might want to stir fry a little broccoli for some additional vegetable content.  This recipe reheats well for lunch the next day.


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