Donburi is good old fashioned Japanese home cooking, and many meats and vegetables, including leftovers, are simmered and served atop hot rice. Unlike the Asian American teriyaki rice bowl with grilled beef, Gyudon features thinly sliced beef gently cooked in simmering seasoned broth, along with sliced onion. The flavor is delicate and savory and soaks nicely into the bed of rice below.
The best beef to use for Gyudon is thinly sliced rib eye steak. The marbling makes for better flavor and more tender texture. Leaner beef, when simmered, becomes dry and tough. Chuck beef requires slow and long cooking in order to soften.
The traditional recipe uses only beef and onions but you can add vegetables like nappa cabbage, mushrooms, carrots or daikon radish, if you like. Serve in a donburi or a deep individual serving bowl with a lid.
Japanese Beef Donburi Gyudon Recipe
steamed white rice
2 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
½ lb. rib eye steak, thinly sliced*
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
2 cups dashi
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. mirin
½ tsp. salt
2 green onions. sliced thinly
**optional vegetables cut into julienned matchstick pieces: carrot, nappa cabbage, bean sprouts, mushrooms (Enoki, Shiitake or other)
*Note: To slice meat thinly, wrap steak and place in freezer until meat is firm but not frozen through. Remove from freezer and, using a sharp knife, slice thinly.
In a large skillet, melt butter and sautEsliced onion until soft. If you are adding vegetables, cut them into julienned matchstick-sized pieces and add them with the onion, cooking briefly until tender crisp. Add beef and sautElightly for one minute. Pour in dashi, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and salt and bring to a simmer over low heat. Stir and allow to simmer for about three minutes or until beef is cooked. Do not overcook.
In individual donburi bowls, place servings of cooked rice. Pour over seasoned beef mixture, including some of the broth. Sprinkle with sliced green onions. I also like to garnish mine with nori strips and toasted sesame seeds, but that is optional. Cover donburi bowl with lid and serve hot.
If you dont have a donburi bowl, use an individual serving sized, deep porcelain bowl. A lid, while not necessary, keeps in the heat until your guest is ready to dine. It makes a lovely presentation and may be used for other serving purposes besides donburi. I use mine for noodles, soups, stews and even for serving candies on the coffee table. Donburi bowls are surprisingly inexpensive at Asian markets. You can check out some online resources, too. They make gracious gifts for your Japanese-food loving friends and party hosts. Ceramic or porcelain is the best material as it holds the heat nicely.