If you’re looking for a yummy way to make tofu part of your life, look no further! This healthy alternative to the typical burger patty is soft, flavourful, and good for you too!
Hamburg steak! That’s the real name friends! For someone who’s taught English as a second language in Japan, “hamburg” is one of those Janglish words you spend a lot of time correcting (“So if it’s in a bun, it’s a hamburger, but if there’s no bun, it’s a hamburger patty!” – me). It took a while before I learned that Hamburg Steak is the actual name for an all-beef patty served with gravy. However the Japanese hanbaagu is actually closer to the Salisbury steak, and need not contain only beef. Our version contains no beef at all, and in fact works better with ground pork or chicken, which are a better match for the tofu’s neutral flavour.
The secret ingredient in this Japanese recipe is fu, or wheat gluten. It’s commonly sold in the form of small, baked and dried bread-like slices, and is used in soup and sukiyaki. Fu can also be found in raw form, and is used in Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, as well as in desserts. In this recipe, fu is responsible for the soft and creamy texture of the patties, and also acts as a binding agent. If you can’t find any, feel free to experiment with replacements or simply omit it, but be warned: the texture won’t be the same!
In the recipe below we topped the patties with grated daikon and ponzu. It also tastes great with teriyaki sauce, and the stronger taste is better suited for bentos! If making the teriyaki version, just add the sauce when the patties have cooked through, and simmer until glazed.
In a large bowl, combine the tofu and fu, then add the rest of the ingredients (except the vegetable oil). Mix well.
Make 4-6 patties (or more, if you want small ones). Heat up the vegetable oil in a frying pan and add the patties, cooking until the underside has browned.
Flip the patties and cover, cooking over medium-low for another 6 to 7 minutes, or until cooked through. (If you were making the teriyaki version, now would be the time to add the sauce, and simmer until glazed.)
Serve with grated daikon and ponzu to taste.