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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. So beautiful! I can’t see the rice :p

  2. As usual, great looking pictures:-) I was also just thinking about making gyudon, but it will need to wait because my stock of beef has gone since a few days ago…;b

  3. yummm!!!!! sometimes…i made mine bistik style (of cos with indonesian kecap manis), pour it on top of a bed of rice and pretend it’s japanese hehehe

  4. I always order either gyu udon or gyudon at Jap restaurants! So tasty and satisfying!

  5. i am always “blown away” by your photos, simply stunning ….. any tips? what camera do you use? btw gyudon is younger daughter’s all-time favourite. i just never thought of cooking it at home ….. not too difficult, huh? think, i can handle. will try it soon, maybe tomorrow.

    • Thanks skinnymum, there are many others who take better pics than me :halo: I’m using Nikon D80, it’s a rather old DSLR. I try to take my photos under natural light with a diffused flash. Direct flash is harsh for food photography ;)

  6. Wow!!! I always crave Gyudon every couple weeks or so! Hmm, maybe I’ll have to make some this weekend! :P

  7. I love Harumi’s book. Simple and easy yet delicious!! This Gyudon is a must try for me!

  8. I have that book, and I love one bowl meals!

  9. I love Harumi’s cookbook too, just ordered her other one. It looks like she may have a 3rd book coming out. You make me craving for a Gyudon already : )

  10. Now I know what’s on the menu for dinner tonight!

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