Gyudon is easy to make, and delicious. Best translated as “seasoned thin-sliced beef over rice,” I have fond memories of eating gyudon at restaurants in Japan, where it is very popular. In fact, there are restaurants dedicated solely to gyudon, and its also a popular fast-food in it’s country of origin. Two of the most popular are Yoshino-ya and Matsu-ya (“ya” when attached to a name or type of food means “shop” or “restaurant).
Tokyo is a 24-hour city, so you can get gyudon any time, day or night. At night, salarymen (office workers) often stop at these types of shops for ramen or gyudon. It’s all part of the Japanese work-culture.
What you need:
- About 1 lb. of thinly-sliced raw beef (best to have your butcher do this ahead of time)
- 2 cups boiling water with *dashi in it
- Sliced onions
- .25 cups sugar
- .25 cups sake (we use really cheap sake for cooking)
- .25 cups soy sauce (or a bit more for a stronger flavor)
- Grated ginger (or ginger paste)
- Chopped scallions (optional as a garnish)
- Cooked rice
What to do:
- Boil onions in the water for 3-4 minutes, until just soft.
- Add the sugar, sake, soy sauce and meat; bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes, depending on how thinly sliced your meat is.
- By this time, about half the liquid should be left. If not, keep cooking until half the liquid has simmered off, being careful not to overcook the meat. You can temporarily remove the meat until the liquid is to the level you like, then return it to the remaining liquid.
- Add the ginger and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Spoon over rice and add chopped scallions, if wanted.
* Dashi is a mild flavored cooking stock made from bonito flakes and kelp.