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Gyudon (Japanese Beef on Rice Bowl)

Delicious Gyudon (Beef on Rice)

I love Japanese food, especially one dish meals such as this Gyudon (牛丼), translated as “beef rice bowl”. Those in Singapore may be familiar with this dish if you eat at Yoshinoya. Gyū means “beef”, and don is short for donburi, the Japanese word for “bowl”. It has everything you need for a complete meal in a bowl – rice, meat, veggies. Very easy to prepare and so filling. I learned the beef and onions recipe from one of my fave Japanese cookbook, Harumi’s Japanese Cooking by Harumi Kurihara, which I adore for its authentic and fuss free recipes.

(Serves 2-3)

A) Side Dish – Steamed Vegetables
– 100g brocolli and cauliflower florets
– 1 carrot, peeled and sliced

B) Main Course – Beef and Onions
– cooked Japanese sushi rice
– 200g thinly sliced beef (I use the shabu shabu cut, I find that thicker cuts result in very tough meat after cooking)
– 200g (or roughly 1 1/2 large) white onion
– 100 ml white wine
– 50 ml water
– 70 ml light soy sauce
– 70ml mirin
– 2 tbsp caster sugar

Other Serving Suggestions
– pickled ginger (beni shoga)
– shichimi togarishi (Japanese 7-Spice Powder)
– instant miso soup


A) For the Side Dish

1) Arrange vegetables on a plate, steam over high heat for a few minutes till cooked.
2) Dip cooked vegetables immediately in ice water so that the vegetables retain their vibrant hue (optional). Set aside.

B) For the Beef and Onions

1. Cut the onions in half lengthways, then slice into half moons 1cm wide.
2. In a saucepan, bring the wine and water to a boil over moderate heat. Add the beef and simmer for a few minutes.
3. Add soy sauce, mirin, sugar and cover with a “drop lid” of alumium foil or a wooden lid and simmer for a few more minutes.
4. Remove the lid, add the onions and simmer until they are transparent and soft.

To serve and assemble the dish


1. Scoop cooked Japanese rice (see recipe below) into serving bowls. Ladle the beef and onions, together with some soup from the pan onto each rice bowl.
2. Serve with steamed vegetables (A), picked ginger, shichimi togarishi and miso soup.

In case you are keen to learn how to cook Japanese rice, here is how I cook mine (same way as how I cook sushi rice)

Recipe for cooked Japanese rice
(Serves 2-3)

– 1 1/4 cups of Japanese short grain sushi rice
– 1 1/2 cups water
– 1 tbsp sake (optional)
– a small piece (roughly 2 cm) of kelp ( optional)
– powered sushi mix

– Wash rice till it runs clear. Drain in colander for an hour if you have the time.
– Add drained rice, water, kelp and sake and cook in rice cooker.
– When rice is cooked, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wide, shallow non metallic container and spread it out.
– While fanning the rice to cool in one hand, add the powdered sushi mix (or your own concoction of sushi vinegar) using the other hand to mix in thoroughly.

Delicious Gyudon (Beef on Rice)
The delectable gyudon (beef on rice) for dinner

56 comments on “Gyudon (Japanese Beef on Rice Bowl)”

  1. I just want to let you know that your gyudon recipe is chou-oishi :halo:
    I didn’t use shabu-shabu beef, but that’s just because I can’t find shabu-shabu beef. I also didn’t add as much water as there’s already juice from the beef.

  2. I cook this quite often but I cheated and used teriyaki sauce instead. Of course, my presentation is nothing like yours but my family loves it too. Your pics look great, as always.

  3. hi
    issit necc to use white wine ? and wonder if you hv recipe for oyako don? coz can’t cook beef at home :(

    • hi min, you can skip the white wine if you like. I haven’t tried oyako don before, will feature it if I do in future :)

  4. Your gyudon looks absolutely gorgeous & yummy! Yay, with this recipe, I can have ‘Yoshinoya’ right at home anytime I like. May I know what brand of white wine and soy sauce do you use. Is the white wine used in place of sake? Roughly many minutes do you simmer your beef slices? Thanks.

  5. Pingback: 13th week of cooking « A fulfilled life

  6. Hi Wiffy

    Being a worst noob cook than you, it is a big challenge for me to cook Japanese Beef Rice. I read through your Gyudon step-by-step recipe more than 10 times over the past 1 month before I picked up my guts to try it out yesterday evening! Praise God! My family tasted my first Japanese dish and they enjoyed the meal very much. I want to thank you for guiding a noob like me to cook! I also did your Baked Saba Fish and made instant Miso Soup (bought at FairPrice, Civic Centre) to go along ;o).

    Thanks a lot Wiffy!


  7. Hello Wiffy. I’ve been Googling my way around, looking for suggestions for making gyudon and found yours. I like the simplicity of ingredients, but no te that you do not use dashi. (Yours is the next on my list to try.) Since you are for more expert than me, I’m wondering why n o dashi and what, if any flavors are missed. Since dashi is difficult to find and I know so little about it, more than once I’ve been tempted to omit it. If you have time, please share your thoughts. If it helps, my only experience with gyudon is via the Yoshinia (sp?) fast food chain in SoCal – and many years ago. I enjoyed their Beef Bowl with Veggies a lot and ate it often. Such things are simply not available in my area. I’m just lucky to have a hefty supply of beni shoga! Thank you,

    Near Oregon’s mid-coast

    • Hello again, Wiffy. I wrote too soon! After reading the many comments following this rather old post, I explored your site in much more detail. Wow. I’ll be stopping by as often as I see something new. Outstanding ideas and recipes and world-class pix. Thank you.


  8. I have just tried your gyudon recipe and it is really good!! I did add dashi to the wine & water though, and 1/2 a tbspoon less light soysauce. It just helps to intensify the flavor a bit more. :)

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