Japanese Beef Bowl (Gyuudon)

This is one of my favorite Japanese dishes as its light but still filling at the same time. As per the lack any real Japanese restaurant in Ottawa, or at least one that isn’t a sushi place, I have to rely on myself to try and replicate that yummy bowl of beefy goodness.

There is a Japanese cooking show called “Cooking with Dog” that are short clips hosted by a mini poodle called Francis who speaks accented English while an elderly lady does all the cooking. Recipes are well depicted step by step and simple to follow. I used their Gyuudon video to make it.


200g thinly sliced beef with a little fat        ½ onion        5g ginger        2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sugar                    1 tbsp hon-mirin    ½ tsp granulated dashi    scallions (green onion)

100 ml water (a little less than half a cup)    1 tbsp sake        steamed rice

I opted out of the egg part of the video, as I usually don’t eat it with my beef bowl, but it is simple to make and described in the video.

Dashi is Japanese fish stock. If you don’t have this, don’t even bother making Gyuudon as it is the basis of the flavor. You can find the granulated packets at your local Asian supermarket.

Regarding the type of meat, I used top sirloin.  Another cut that provides at least the same level of flavor and tenderness would be rib eye, but if you get the meat sliced thinly enough, anything should work.


  1. Parboil the beef by placing it in boiling water for a minute or two. Take it out just as it loses its red color, otherwise you’ll end up with flavorless and chewy beef. Set the beef aside.
  2. In a pan (I like using a wok as the shape keeps all the ingredients together in the center), pour the soy sauce, mirin and sugar in the pan. Set the stove at medium heat.
  3. Stir mixture continuously until it begins to boil. When it boils, place the previously parboiled meat in the center and toss to coat evenly with the sauce. Do this for about a couple of minutes until the meat turns dark brown with the mixture. Remove beef and set aside.
  4. Add water, ginger and onions to the mixture. Stir to coat onions and continue to cook until it boils. Once it boils, turn down the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Uncover and add the meat. Cook until the meat is heated up.
  6. Prepare a bowl of steamed rice, top with onions and beef and green onion.

Its as simple as that. Very easy to prepare as well as cook.

It turned out pretty darned good for the first time. It was a little short on soy sauce flavor, but its because I added a bit more water to make sure I covered the onions. The thinner the beef you get the better! I got a slightly thicker cut so it wasn’t as “melt in your mouth” as the standard beef bowl is. But overall, success J


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