Japanese Tofu Hamburger Steak (Hambagu) Using Shio Koji

tofu hamburger steak

Japanese Tofu Hamburger Steak (Hambagu) Using Shio Koji

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Sakura Yubi
I'm going to show you how to make a tofu hamburger steak using shio koji. We Japanese call a hamburger steak, hambagu. We are going to mix in some tofu to make it unbelievably soft and juicy. This dish is light and refreshing but satisfying at the same time. And shio koji will do some magic as always. I think you will love this dish.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cuisine Japanese
Course Main Course
Servings 2 servings



Meat Mixture

  • 228 g ground pork
  • 200 g tofu (A firm type (momen dofu) is preferable. But if you are using a smooth type (kinu dofu), drain some water (see instructions below).)
  • 83 g finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp shio koji
  • 1 pinch black pepper


  • 8 tbsp grated radish
  • 8 leaves green shiso leaves (Also called "oba leaves".)



Draining Water Out of Tofu (If You Are Using Smooth Tofu – Kinu Dofu)

  • On a plate, wrap the tofu with some paper towels. Don't cover it with plastic wrap.
    Put this into the microwave oven and warm it up for about two minutes at around 500W.
    wrapping tofu with paper towels
  • This is what it looks like right out of the microwave oven. As you can see, a lot of water has come out of the tofu and is absorbed by the paper towels. Let it cool a bit, and it's ready to use!
    unwrapping tofu

Making and Resting Meat Mixture

  • In a bowl, add ground pork, tofu, finely chopped onion, shio koji, and black pepper.
    Give it a little mix.
    mixing ingredients
  • Cover it with plastic wrap.
    Let it rest for half an hour or longer.
    While the mixture rests, enzymes called proteases in shio koji will break down proteins into amino acids to create umami. This reaction will also soften the meat. In other words, shio koji will make this dish extra delicious.
    covering mixture with plastic wrap

Preparing Garnish

  • Grate radish to make daikon oroshi. If you don't have a radish grater like this, you can use a food processor as well.
    grating radish
  • Slice green shiso leaves into thin strips.
    To make it easier, stack them on top of each other, chop off the stems, and roll them up like a cigar. Cut it up in half, place the halves next to each other, and then slice them thinly. Loosen them up and they are ready to use!
    rolling shiso leaves

Cooking Hamburger Steaks

  • Knead the mixture well.
    kneading mixture
  • Take a small portion on your hand and make a little patty and place it onto a lightly greased pan.
    making a patty
  • Turn on the heat to medium and let it cook without a lid for about five minutes.
    cooking hamburger steaks
  • When the bottom of the patties is lightly golden brown, turn them over.
    turning steaks
  • Cover it with a lid.
    Reduce the heat to low and let it cook for about ten minutes so the inside of these patties will be completely cooked.
    cooking with a lid on
  • Put up the heat to high and cook up those juices.
    cooking the steaks
  • Turn the patties once again, and they are ready to serve!
    turning steaks
  • Place the patties onto a plate, then put some grated radish on the patties. Then sprinkle some shio leave strips. Drizzle some ponzu. And our tofu hamburger steaks are done! Enjoy!
    plating hamburger steaks

Recipe Notes


Serving: 1servingCalories: 495.3kcalCarbohydrates: 16.6gProtein: 27.3gFat: 34.8gSaturated Fat: 10.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6.8gMonounsaturated Fat: 14.7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 82.1mgSodium: 1861.1mgPotassium: 480.2mgFiber: 2.5gSugar: 3.6gVitamin A: 86.6IUVitamin C: 17.1mgCalcium: 161.2mgIron: 2.8mg
Keyword hambagu, hamburger steak, koji salt, salt koji, shio koji, tofu
tofu hamburger steak
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