This makes four generous servings with just a small amount of ground meat! These hamburger steaks topped with plenty of sauce that is packed with dried mushrooms and thickened with starch (ankake sauce). I've tried to keep the recipe as simple and easy as possible.
Mix all the hamburger ingredients well in a bowl. Milk is usually added, but since this is a Japanese style hamburger steak that's served with lots of with thickened sauce, just water and sake are fine.
The mixture will be a bit softer than usual. Divide it into four patties.
Heat some oil in a frying pan. When the frying pan is really hot, turn off the heat. Place the patties in the pan and then turn the heat back on to medium.
Tip: Turning off the heat once before putting in the hamburger patties ensures the patties will be evenly cooked, since they are all on the heat for the same length of time.
Tip: Make sure the patties are not too thick in the middle, or they won't cook through well. Flatten them with your fingers after putting them in the frying pan.
Do not cover the pan with a lid because it will be hard to see how the meat is cooking, and the meat juices will also leak out. When they're a bit white around the edges, turn the patties over.
Tip: It's hard to tell from the photos, but if the meat turns a whitish color, it means it's cooked. If you cover the pan with a lid, you won't be able to tell if there's too much oil, and so on.
Continue cooking after flipping them over until they're cooked through. Test for doneness by pressing a spoon down on the meat. If meat juices run clear, they're done!
Tip: DO NOT insert a bamboo skewer, or all of the precious meat juices will flood out.
Use semi-dried shimeji mushrooms (Recipe ID:2599926) and dried king oyster mushrooms (Recipe ID:2593732) as-is. Rehydrate fully dried mushrooms.
Slice the onion, cut the carrot into matchsticks, and cut the green pepper into strips. You can also use fresh mushrooms, instead of dried.
Put some oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the mushrooms. Dried mushrooms are full of umami, so there's no need to squeeze out the excess moisture in them before adding them to the pan.
Put the vegetables in the frying pan starting with the harder ones, and keep stir-frying. When they are all coated with oil, add the water, sake and dashi stock granules.
When the liquid in the pan comes to a boil, add the mirin, sugar and soy sauce.
Dissolve katakuriko in the same amount of water to make the slurry. Don't add it all at once, but slowly stir it in while shaking the frying pan.
Pour lots of the sauce on top of the hamburger steaks. This time I served them with deep-fried eggplant and boiled Morrocan beans.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wanted to make it easy for those times when you're really busy, so I didn't sauté the onions first, or soak the breadcrumbs - I just mixed everything together. Usually you put in milk, but water and sake work well in this recipe. Hamburger steaks made carefully are delicious of course, but if you're covering them will lots of sauce, this recipe is just fine.
These are rather soft hamburger steaks, since they have lots of onion and breadcrumbs in them. If you cover them with a lid while cooking they will plump up but the meat juices will leak out, so I cook them without a lid. Check for doneness by looking at them from the sides. This method is foolproof, since the parts that have changed color are cooked through.