Japanese people prefer hamburgers to have a light and fluffy (or “fuwa-fuwa”) texture, rather than meaty and dense. Adding tofu to the burger in this recipe achieves this without the need for breadcrumbs, and the nuttiness of the tofu is a great match for the light and refreshing ponzu sauce that accompanies this dish.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (79 votes)


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp sake, chicken stock or water
  • grated daikon, sliced spring onion (scallion), dried chilli threads (ito-tougarashi or sil-kochu), to serve


  • 75 ml sake
  • 75 ml mirin
  • ¼ tsp caster sugar
  • 150 ml light soy sauce
  • 75 ml lemon juice (from approximately 1 large lemon)
  • 1 piece kombu
  • 1 handful bonito flakes

Tofu hamburger

  • 300 g firm tofu
  • 400 g minced beef (fatty mince preferred)
  • ½ onion
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing/chilling time 1 hour 20 minutes

To make the ponzu, heat the sake, mirin and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and return to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir through the lemon juice. Add the kombu and bonito flakes. Stand for 1 hour, then strain to remove any lemon pulp or seeds. Transfer to a container until ready to use.

Meanwhile, to make the hamburger, press the tofu between two layers of paper towel and weigh down with a heavy plate. Stand to press for about 20 minutes. Combine the tofu with remaining hamburger ingredients, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 1 hour and then form into four patties.

Heat oil in frying pan with a lid. Add the hamburgers and cook until well browned on one side. Turn and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the sake, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the hamburgers are cooked through.

Squeeze out excess moisture from daikon. Top hamburgers with the daikon, spring onion and ito-tougarashi. Dress with the ponzu and serve.