Gyudon is a Japanese beef bowl featuring tender slices of savory beef and juicy sweet onions, served over a bowl of rice.
Gyudon also known as Japanese Beef Rice Bowl is comfort food for me. It was made popular here in the States by the restaurant chain, Yoshinoya (known for their Japanese Beef Donburi). Every trip we've made to Japan always included several bowls of Gyudon. The tender beef and onions, sweet and savory broth, hot bowl of rice, served with a raw yolk on top...it's the perfect cure for jetlag.
This Japanese Beef Donburi (rice bowl) is such an easy recipe to make. It can be included in your weekday menu without adding stress to your day. This recipe is for a family sized portion but it's easy to double up for convenient leftovers. It also freezes well. I like to store it in individual portions for a quick lunch or for days I'm too tired or lazy to cook.
Which Cut of Beef Can I Use for Japanese Gyudon Beef Bowl?
My favorite cut of beef for this dish is a thinly sliced fatty chuck. It has a nice beefy flavor with a good amount of fat. Most Asian grocery stores and even Costco sell frozen or fresh shabu-shabu meat that is thinly sliced. Any of these would work as well. I like to find something that has strips of fat running through the meat versus something that has fat marbled into it. The contrasting textures between fat and meat is ideal for Gyudon.
If your grocery store doesn't offer sliced chuck, you can ask the butcher to slice it for you. An ⅛ of an inch or thinner is what we're looking for. Alternatively, you can cut the meat yourself. Prior to slicing, freeze your meat for about 2 hours, long enough for the meat to hold its shape but not frozen solid. This will allow you to make uniform slices with ease. If the meat is still too soft, just stick it back in the freezer and try again in 30 minutes to 1 hour.
The cut of beef you select will determine your cook time. Something like chuck can withstand a short braise and absorb the lovely sweet and savory broth. While sliced ribeye will do best with a quick cook time rather than a braise so that the meat doesn't fall apart.
Which Type of Onion Should I Use for Yoshinoya Beef Donburi?
I like to use white onions because they cook faster, but yellow or sweet onions will be just fine. Cut the onion into thin wedges. Start by trimming off the stem and the root and cutting the onion in half through the root. Then proceed by slicing it into thin wedges from root to stem (pole to pole), just as you would cut an apple.
How to Make Gyudon Beef Bowl
In a skillet or pot, combine the ingredients for the sauce and bring it to a boil. I always recommend taking the time to make your own dashi stock. It does require extra preparation but it really elevates your dish. If you're short on time, Hon Dashi is a good alternative.
Once the sauce comes to a boil, add the sliced chuck and let it return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until the meat is almost tender. Periodically, skim off the impurities with a fine mesh strainer.
Add the onions and continue to simmer covered for another 5 minutes or so until the onions are tender. You'll have to adjust your cook time depending on the type of beef you use. If you're using a tender cut that cooks fast, such as ribeye, add the onions and beef at the same time.
Serve over a bowl of freshly steamed rice and top with scallions, sesame seeds and/or shichimi togarashi (a Japanese 7 spice chili blend) for some heat.
- 1.5 lbs thinly sliced beef chuck
- 2 medium white onions, sliced
- 3 cups dashi stock, or 3 teaspoon Hon Dashi + 3 cups water
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- ¼ cup sake
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- In a large skillet or pot, combine all the SAUCE ingredients and bring it to a boil.
- Add the sliced beef and allow the sauce to return to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the beef is almost tender, about 10 minutes.
- Skim off the impurities with a fine mesh strainer.
- Add the onions and continue to simmer covered until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Serve over a bowl of rice and sprinkle shichimi togarashi, sesame seeds, or scallions, or all 3 like I did! 🙂