Gyudon is a favorite meal among busy Japanese men. It’s a simple bowl of simmered beef and rice and is a quick and delicious meal for someone who has 10 minutes for lunch. This recipe is so much better than any beef bowl that you can find at Japanese chains like Yoshinoya.
Watch how to make my Gyudon recipe!
Gyudon: Deliciousness in a bowl!
Japanese salarymen are fueled by gyudon. Gyudon is a recipe made with a bowl of white rice, topped with thin slices of beef that are simmered a savory, sweet, delicious sauce.
You can find many kinds of restaurants across Japan that serve this simple dish, the most prominent of which are Yoshinoya, Matsuya, and Sukiya. These three restaurants specialize in beef bowls. Think of it like our American fast-food restaurants that specialize in burgers!
Gyudon is typically served with a thinly-sliced pickled ginger and a side of miso soup. This hearty meal is easy to eat, inexpensive, and is enjoyed by everyone, young and old!
Can I substitute the beef in this Gyudon recipe for other kinds of meats?
For sure! There are variations of this gyudon recipe that use pork and chicken! A gyudon recipe using pork instead of beef is called “Butadon”. Usually the sauce is quite different. As pork sometimes has a strong smell, a stronger, more flavorful sauce is used to cover up the smell.
Chicken thigh would work great in this dish as well. There’s a chicken rice bowl dish called “Oyakodon”, which consists of simmered chicken thigh that’s topped with egg. The egg gets simmered on top of the chicken and it becomes a beautiful harmony of flavors!
Ingredients for my gyudon recipe
The ingredients are super simple and you can get almost everything you need at your local grocery store!
- Thinly sliced beef
- Soy sauce (See it on Amazon)
- Cooking sake (See it on Amazon)
- Mirin (See it on Amazon)
- Mentsuyu, a concentrated sauce usually used for making soba noodle dipping sauce (See it on Amazon)
- Powdered dashi stock (See it on Amazon)
- Sliced green onions
- Pickled ginger (See it on Amazon)
- Shichimi (See it on Amazon)
Simple tips for making my Gyudon recipe!
1. Use thinly sliced beef!
In Japan, it is quite easy to find super thinly sliced beef. Depending on where you live, you might not be able to find anything similar. In that case, I recommend you put your beef in the freezer for about an hour until it’s partially frozen. Then, using the sharpest knife you have, carefully slice the beef into paper thin slices.
2. Make sure you’re using Japanese short-grain rice!
All rice is not equal! You may be able to get away with using something simple, like Uncle Ben’s microwavable rice, but the sauce and rice really make a wonderful combination that the firmer, long grain rice in most western countries can’t compete with! If you can, I suggest using some type of Asian rice, ideally, Japanese short-grain rice!
The soft, fluffy texture of the rice, along with it’s fairly neutral taste goes so well with the sweet and savory sauce! The combination of these two ingredeints makes this gyudon recipe irresistable!
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- 1 Egg
- ½ onion sliced
- ½ pound of thinly sliced beef
- 1 cup
Japanese Short-grain Rice (See it on Amazon)
- 1 tbsp
Cooking Sake (See it on Amazon)
- 1 tbsp
Mirin (See it on Amazon)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp
Soy Sauce (See it on Amazon)
- 2 tbsp
Mentsuyu (See it on Amazon)
- 1/4 cup
Dashi powder (See it on Amazon)
- 2 tbsp
Pickled Ginger (See it on Amazon)
- 1/4 green onion thinly sliced
Japanese 7-Spice Powder - Shichimi (See it on Amazon)Optional
- Bring water to a boil, add egg and boil for about 6 minutes, then remove it and place it in cold water.
- Slice white onions and green onions, and set aside.
- Cook the sliced white onions in a pan for 1 minute over medium heat.
- Add the sauce liquids to the pan, along with the sugar and stir. Bring it to a simmer and allow the onions to cook in the sauce for about 2 minutes.
- Add the beef and simmer until it’s cooked through, making sure to scoop the scum off of the sauce.
- Spoon the beef and onions onto your rice, making sure to get plenty of sauce spooned on top as well. Crack your soft-boiled egg in the center of your rice bowl, and garnish with pickled ginger, sliced green onions, and shichimi (Japanese seven spice powder).