Beef Donburi

gyu donburi Japanese beef and riceIn Japan, rice is usually served plain; a meal is not complete without rice!
However there are some dishes that are meals in a bowl: donburi! A donburi is a big bowl of rice topped with foods cooked in a savory/sweet sauce. You can eat donburi dishes at many casual and chain restaurants all over Japan; you can easily make donburi at home. When you want something to eat: FAST, you can’t go wrong when eating donburi! There are donburi toppings made with vegetables, seafood, beef, pork, or chicken.gyu donburi Japanese beef and rice

Beef and Onion DonburiBeef and Onion DonburiBeef and Onion Donburi

Sweet Simmered Beef and Onion over Rice

Gyu Donburi
serves 3 as a main dish
page 304

  • 3 cups freshly cooked plain white rice
  • 1 1/4 cups dashi (basic Japanese stock)
  • 2 Tablespoons sake
  • 3 Tablespoons mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (original recipe: 1 1/2 TBS.)

Combine the dashi, sake, and mirin in a medium skillet, and bring the mixxture to a boil over medium heat. Add the sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Reduce heat to low, and cook 5 minutes.

  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1/2 pound beef sirloin, cut into thin slices across the grain
  • 3 Tablespoons shoyu
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten (I prefer not to beat the eggs)

Add onions and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the beef, and cook 2 minutes. Add the shoyu, and cook for 2 more minutes. Pour the eggs over the beef and onions. Cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide the cooked rice among individual large serving bowls, and top with portions of the beef, onion, egg mixture. Pour a generous amount of the cooking broth over each serving. Serve with chopsticks and a spoon.Beef and Onion Donburi

More Nimono Recipes From Tess

The cucumber and tomato salad on the side was dressed with a a dressing made with rice vinegar and soy sauce. This dressing can be used with raw or cooked fish, shellfish, and vegetables. It’s also nice on grilled meat.Nihaizu Rice Vinegar and Soy Sauce Dressing


page 73

  • 1/4 cup komezu (rice vinegar)
  • 2 Tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)

In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Japanese Salad Recipes From TessDonburi and Nihaizu salad

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12 thoughts on “Beef Donburi

  1. Loved the recipe but how do you slice the meat so thin? I tried freezing it first but probably not for long enough as it wasn’t easy to cut?

    • I don’t always get the meat cut so thinly! But freezing helps, and if Mr. Tess has recently sharpened my good knife, it does cut more thinly. But it’s not really necessary to cut it paper thin: just thin enough to cook quickly. Also note that this beef is sliced in narrow strips which is easier than trying to cut big thin slices.

      The biggest shortcut is to buy the sukiyaki beef from the freezer section of an Asian store… Costs more, though.

  2. I wonder if the recipe should call for less soy sauce. My donburi came out really salty :( The meat and veggies had a wonderful texture though.

    • Sorry to hear that you found it too salty. The recipe serves 3 and 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce in the whole doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, but you could easily use less. On second thought (from the Mayo clinic website):

      One tablespoon (15 milliliters) of soy sauce, for example, has about 1,000 mg of sodium.

  3. Pingback: Beef Donburi « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

  4. Due to religious reasons I can’t use anything with alcohol in my cooking. What do you recommend I use as substitutes for sake and mirin?

  5. Hi Icarus,

    Yes sake is a wine. And mirin can also have alcohol. But double check the labels on mirin. Most of the mirin sold in the U.S. is not actually the original Japanese wine product. It is flavored juice(?) rather than fermented. I’m not sure if the flavoring they use in mirin comes from an alcohol product, though—it might be just a technical, chemical, concocted flavoring. I really don’t know…

    So I’d suggest using white grape juice instead of either sake or mirin. Especially for the mirin. Mirin tastes quite like white grape juice, so you could just use that. I’d water it down, say half to three quarters grape juice to one part water because mirin is not quite as sweet as white grape juice.

    The alcohol in the sake probably helps to combine the flavors from fat and water so you cannot really replace that chemical function, but you could try using tea with a very little sugar to make a similar flavor. There is some bitter flavor to alcohol as there is in tea, but sake (the cheap stuff I use for cooking) is also a little sweet.

    I’ve seen lots of folks online say to use apple juice. But that is very sweet. I’m wondering if pomegranate molasses might be a good alternative? It’s quite strong so you wouldn’t need very much! But it adds a nice sour umami flavor to foods. Worth an experiment?

  6. What kind of rice do they use in Donburi at restaurants or is there a special way they prepare it? I’m used to the white rice (Chinese?) steamed in a rice cooker, but it’s always so mushy and stuck together. Whenever I order Donburi at Japanese restaurants, the rice is less mushy and less stuck together. It’s like the individual grains of rice is only slightly sticky and stronger, thus less mushy.

  7. I used a sort of sweet but tart cranberry juice for the sake and mirin, and it turned out wonderfully! I also add a bit of black pepper and salt to taste, and because of the sweetness of the juice I reduce the sugar to half a tablespoon. Love this recipe! :)

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