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