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Japanese Gyudon - Beef Rice Bowl

Japanese Gyudon - Beef Rice Bowl

We cannot overstate how incredibly tasty this dish is. And it is super simple to make. In Japan, Gyudon is a really popular dish, it's a Japanese beef rice bowl, the word 'Gyudon' just comes from a combination of the word for beef (gyu, pronounced 'goo') and the word for bowl (don). It's basically a type of donburi of which there are lots of different recipes. The essence of the dish is extremely thinly sliced strips of beef that are simmered in a flavourful broth of dashi, soy sauce and mirin served over rice and topped with pickled ginger, spring onions, shichimi togarashi and often a soft cooked egg. It's utterly delicious and super simple to make.

To make life even more straight forward, we have a couple of excellent products which provide the perfect seasoning combination for the broth. Hamadaya are a famous Japanese producer of exceptionally good quality soy sauce, they also make a range of products to make authentic Japanese cooking really accessible. So here I'm using a combination of their dashi stock and gyudon sauce which already has so much deliciousness, but then simmer thin strips of beef in it and the whole thing goes to a new level.

There is only one small complication with this dish - you want to use beef that has a good level of fat marbling, I used sirloin steak here but ribeye will work well. Very lean beef can sometimes have the tendency to become slightly more chewy. You also want the strips of beef to be sliced almost as thinly are Parma ham for which there is a very simple technique to achieve this. You simply pop the steak in the freezer for about 30-60 minutes (depending on the thickness of the steak), then using a thin bladed knife, slice the steak at a 45° angle. The cold steak will keep everything really firm and easy to slice really thinly. The bonus is that once sliced, a single 8oz steak is enough for two people. 

Recipe for Japanese Gyudon
Serves 2

220g Sirloin Steak, sliced really really thinly, as described above
1 white onion, peeled and thickly sliced
10g Hamadaya Dai Aso dashi stock mixed with 100ml hot water
130ml Hamadaya Dai Aso Gyudon Sauce
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
Beni shoga - pickled ginger, as much as you like
Shichimi Togarashi, as much as you like
eggs, poached or soft boiled (optional)
250g Japanese rice (white or brown)

1.  Remove the steak of any packaging and pop it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes to firm up.

2. Wash the rice in plenty of changes of cold water and leave to soak for 20 minutes.

3. After 25 minutes, remove the steak from the freezer and slice as thinly as you can on a 45° angle. Keep to one side.

3. Cook the rice in twice it's volume of gently simmering salted water for around 10 minutes if using white or 35 minutes if using brown. All the water should get absorbed by the rice. Then turn off the heat. It's fine to let it sit in the pan for 10-15 minutes.

4. If you are going to add a poached egg, get a pan of water on to boil.

5. In a large frying pan, add in the dashi stock mixed with the water and the gyudon sauce. Bring it up to a simmer and add in the sliced onions. Cook this gently for around 2-3 minutes, just until the onions start to soften.

6. Now arrange the thinly sliced strips of beef over the top of the simmering broth and continue to gently cook for around 5 minutes - pushing the pieces into the liquid as it cooks. You want the beef to become lovely and tender, so you may have to try a piece to check!

7. For the poached egg, drop the eggs into a swirling pan of nearly boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.

8. Once the beef has cooked for around 5 minutes and is nice a tender, it's time to plate up. In each bowl, pile in some rice, top with the beef and plenty of the remaining cooking liquid, add on the poached egg, sliced spring onions, pickled ginger and sprinkle over some shichimi togarashi.....Enjoy!

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