Cooking Like the Japanese: Gyudon

Gyudon – Beef Bowl

We love a good Japanese recipe, but we’re often dismayed to see one of Japan’s simplest, yet most wholesome and delicious meals excluded from their pages – The unassuming bowl of Gyudon – Delicious shredded, marinaded beef on a bed of seasoned rice. It’s a staple meal on the menus of big chains like Yoshinoya and Sukiya and it’s been filling bellies and putting smiles on faces for decades.

This particular recipe can be made in less than an hour, and is delicious either fresh and hot or chilled in a bento box for an extra special lunch.


Ingredients – Serves 4 (or 2 larger servings!)

For the Beef:

500g Chuck Steak or Braising Steak (The beef needs to have plenty of fat/marbling)

1 white onion – Finely sliced

Ginger Puree – Available in most supermarkets

5 Tbsp Soy Sauce

4 Tbsp Cooking Sake

4 Tbsp Mirin

2 Tbsp White Sugar

2 Cups Water


For the Rice:

300g Short Grain Rice

360ml Water

4 Tbsp Rice Vinegar (you can add more or less, depending on your own preference)



Pink Pickled Ginger (Optional)

White Sesame Seeds (Optional)


Lets get started…

1. Put the beef into the freezer for 45 minutes to allow it to slightly freeze. This will make it easier to slice later.

2. In a large pan, add the sliced onion, soy sauce, cooking sake, mirin, white sugar and water. Add a generous squeeze of pureed ginger into the mixture, depending on your preference. Put the mixture on the hob on a medium heat and allow it to come to the boil.

3. Whilst the marinade is coming to the boil, take the beef out of the freezer. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the beef into wafer thin pieces. It is important the beef is very thin, so it cooks properly and comes out tender.


Chuck steak sliced into wafer thin pieces. Plenty of marbling in the meat to absorb all of those lovely marinade flavours!


4. Once the marinade is at the boil, add the sliced beef a bit at a time and mix it into the marinade. You’ll see the colour of the beef change almost as soon as it hits the hot liquid. Once all the beef has been added, allow the marinade come back to the boil and then turn down to a gentle bubble. Put a lid onto the saucepan and allow it to cook for 30 minutes.

5. Whilst the beef is cooking, wash the short grain rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Add it to the saucepan/rice cooker. Add the water. If using a rice cooker, shut the lid and set to cook. If using a saucepan, place a lid on and bring to the boil. Then reduce to a low heat and allow the rice to cook for about 20 minutes, which will allow the rice to absorb the water.

6. Once the rice is cooked, add the sushi rice seasoning (You can add more or less of the seasoning, depending on how strong you prefer your rice flavouring). Once mixed, serve out into dishes.

7. Drain the liquid from the beef and evenly dish out on top of each dish of rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and add a small amount of pink pickled ginger to the top.

8. Serve and enjoy!


At Animangapop, we love sharing our interests in all aspects of Japanese culture. Our next event is in Cardiff on the 1st June 2024 at the Future Inn. Make sure you secure your ticket here.


Make sure you check out all of our other events here as well.