If you’re looking for ways to elevate your rice bowls, you must give this Steak Donburi a try! The beautifully charred steak topped with a runny egg yolk makes this an extra indulgent and special meal. I mean, what’s better than a perfectly cooked ribeye served sliced on a bed of fresh hot rice? Not much if you ask me!
For this recipe, I used a ribeye steak however you can use other cuts of steak like strip sirloin. I don’t recommend using tough cuts such as hanger or flank steaks.
I pulled the steak out of the fridge an hour before cooking and seasoned it with salt on both sides. This allows the salt to penetrate deep into the steak which results in a flavorful and well-seasoned steak. Keep in mind that you’ll need to let the seasoned steak rest for at least one hour for this to work.
If you don’t have the time, I recommend taking the steak out for at least 30 minutes to allow it to rest at room temperature. Then, right before you’re ready to cook the steak, season it on both sides.
The flavors of the sauce tie up the entire dish altogether. But if you want to give it a bit of a kick, I also recommend adding a dab of wasabi on the side.
What does Donburi mean?
Donburi is a Japanese dish that serves freshly cooked short-grain rice, or sushi rice, in a bowl and is usually topped with meat, seafood, or vegetables. It’s aptly named after ‘donburi’ – which refers to the large-sized bowl that it’s commonly served in.
Each donburi has its own name to indicate which type of topping it has – and oyakodon, gyudon, and katsudon are some of the most popular ones. Oyakodon is a chicken and egg rice bowl, gyudon is a beef rice bowl, and katsudon is a pork rice bowl.
Donburi is also referred to as ‘fast food’ due to the ease of its preparation. It’s also typically enjoyed with pickles, soup, or noodles on the side but it’s also perfectly delicious on its own.
If you’re craving a hearty lunch or dinner and want to make your own donburi at home, give this recipe a try!
How to make Steak Donburi
This recipe is relatively straightforward and easy to cook so if you’re ready for a delicious meal, follow the recipe below:
Step 1: Season the steak
Take the steak out of the fridge at least 1 hour before cooking and season with salt on both sides.
If you’re in a time crunch, pull the steak out 30 minutes before cooking. Season with salt on both sides right before it goes into the pan.
Step 2: Wash and cook the rice
While the steak is resting, wash and cook your rice with your rice cooker or on the stovetop.
Step 3: Prepare the garnish and sauce
Slice the onions thinly, remove the stems from the Thai chili peppers, and chop the scallions. Set these aside for later.
In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar, sake, mirin, and bonito flakes, then give them a good stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Step 4: Cook the steak
In a pan, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat. Next, season both sides of your steak with black pepper (skip this if you’ve already seasoned your steak).
When the oil in the pan is smoking hot, carefully place the steak in the pan and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare – or until your desired doneness.
Remove the steak from the pan and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Step 5: Cook the sauce
In the same pan, add the sauce mixture, onions, and Thai chili peppers. Let the sauce reduce for 1 to 2 minutes before straining.
Step 6: Assemble the rice bowl
Place about 1 cup of rice in a bowl, shaping the top into a dome shape.
Next, slice your steak into your preferred thickness and arrange them on top of the rice.
Step 7: Prepare the egg yolk
In a small mixing bowl, crack an egg and separate the yolk from the egg whites. Then, place the egg yolk in the center of your donburi.
The fresher the egg, the more flavorful it’s going to be, so make sure to use high-quality eggs!
Step 8: Garnish and serve
Drizzle a few spoonfuls of the sauce around the steak. Then garnish with chopped scallions and a dollop of wasabi on the side.
Serve and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of meat should I use for Steak Donburi?
I like to use ribeye steak for this recipe because it’s one of my favorite cuts of steak. It has just the right amount of marbling and tenderness for a recipe like this. If you prefer to use a different cut, I also recommend strip sirloin because it’s just as tender as ribeye!
I don’t recommend tougher cuts of meat like hanger and flank steak. If you’re not a fan of beef, you can also swap it for a tender cut of pork, like pork shoulder or even chicken thighs.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Steak – My preferred cut of steak is ribeye because it’s tender and has just the right amount of marbling. You can also substitute it with strip sirloin.
- Egg yolks – The egg yolks add richness and creaminess to the rice bowl. While there is no substitution for this, you can just omit it if you prefer.
- Rice – Short-grain rice is the best rice to use for donburi recipes because it’s starchy and sticky. You can substitute it with medium-grain rice however, long-grain rice would not be ideal for this recipe.
- Sake – The sake adds a touch of umami and sweetness to the sauce. Good substitutes for sake include dry sherry or Chinese cooking wine.
- Mirin – The addition of mirin adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the sauce, but you can replace it with sake, rice vinegar, or Chinese cooking wine.
- Onions – Onions add a natural sweetness and savoriness to the sauce. You could substitute it with shallots or scallions.
- Thai chili peppers – They may be small in size, but Thai chili peppers pack a big punch of spice. They can be substituted with habanero, jalapeño peppers, or serrano peppers. If you didn’t want the sauce to be spicy, you can skip the peppers completely.
- Bonito flakes – While this is optional, bonito flakes add a deep umami flavor to the sauce. You can substitute it with a few small pieces of dried kelp.
- Wasabi – The spiciness of the wasabi helps cut through the richness of the steak, eggs, and sauce. This is optional, but highly recommended! You can use pre-made wasabi or fresh wasabi root (which is worth the extra splurge)!
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I serve with Steak Donburi?
Donburi’s are traditionally served with pickles, noodles, or soup, but you can enjoy them with side dishes that are easily accessible to you.
Some of my favorite side dishes to enjoy with steak donburi are pickled cucumbers. I always find myself going back and forth between Korean Cucumber Kimchi and Chinese Cucumber Garlic. These cucumber side dishes are great because they can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
If I’m feeling extra hungry or I’m entertaining a group of guests, I also like to serve Crispy Japchae Dumplings with the donburi. These shallow-fried vegetarian dumplings are light and crispy which helps balance out the richness of the steak donburi. Don’t forget to serve the dumplings with my delicious Korean dipping sauce on the side. In my opinion, a good sauce is essential for dumplings!
What rice is used for donburi?
Since donburi is a Japanese dish, it’s traditionally prepared with Japanese short-grain rice. However, any type of short-grain white rice would also work too!
I don’t recommend using long-grain white rice, like jasmine rice, because they’re extremely fluffy and light. The creaminess of the egg yolk and sauce adheres to short-grain rice much better than long-grain rice.
Is the donburi sauce sweet?
The donburi sauce is usually a balance between sweet and umami, but it will also depend on your toppings. Depending on the type of donburi, it will have its own version of a sauce, but recurring ingredients like soy sauce and mirin are commonly found throughout most donburi recipes.
If you wanted to adjust the sweetness in the sauce, you could also modify the amount of sugar added. If the sauce is too sweet, reduce the sugar added. If the sauce isn’t sweet enough, just add a bit more sugar! The same goes for saltiness as well. If you find that your sauce is too salty, you can reduce the amount of soy sauce added or add a splash of water to dilute it. However, if your sauce isn’t salty enough, you can add a bit more soy sauce.
Are you supposed to mix donburi?
There are no rules! It’s important that you enjoy food that’s most delightful and pleasurable to you.
Some people like mixing the donburi together because it distributes the toppings and sauce throughout the entire bowl for the perfect bite every single time. However, some people prefer eating it unmixed too.
At the end of the day, it’s all just a matter of preference. It will still taste just as delicious regardless of how you eat it!
If you’re ready to level up your rice bowl game, this steak donburi will not disappoint! Give it a try and let me know how you like it 🙂
Looking for more easy and delicious rice dishes?
Here are some of my favorites!
- Coco Ichibanya Curry Recipe
- Easy Pineapple Fried Rice
- Mushroom Rice Bowl
- Lap Cheong (Chinese Sausage) Fried Rice
- Beef Enoki Rolls
- 1 lb steak ribeye
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cups rice cooked
- 1 scallion chopped for garnish
- 1 tsp salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper to taste
- wasabi to taste
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp sake
- 3 tbsp mirin or cooking wine
- 1/4 medium onion thinly sliced
- 2 whole thai chili peppers optional
- pinch of bonito flakes optional
- Remove the steak from the fridge at least 1 hour before cooking. Season with salt on both sides and set aside. If you don't have enough time, take the steak out 30 minutes and set it aside to come to room temperature. Season with salt and pepper right before cooking.
- While the steak is resting, wash and cook your rice in the rice cooker or stove top.
- Thinly slice the onions and remove the stems from the thai chili peppers. Chop the scallions for garnish. Set aside.
- Combine the soy sauce, sugar, sake, mirin, and bonito flakes. Mix well.
- In a pan, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Season the steak on both sides with black pepper. If you didn't season your steak with salt earlier, season it now with the black pepper.
- When the pan is hot and smoking, add the steak and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium rare or until your red doneness. Remove from pan and let the steak rest for least 10 minutes.
- In the same pan, add the sauce mixture, onions, and Thai chili peppers. Simmer the sauce and reduce for about 1 to 2 minutes then strain.
- Place about 1 cup of rice into a bowl and shape the top into a dome shape. Slice the steak to your desired thickness and place it on top of the rice.
- Crack an egg and separate the white and the egg yolk. Place the yolk in the center of the bowl.
- Using a spoon, drizzle a few spoonfuls of the reduced sauce over the steak. Garnish with chopped scallions, and wasabi, and enjoy!
- I used a ribeye steak however you can use other cuts of steak like strip sirloin. I don’t recommend using tough cuts such as hanger steaks.
- If you have the time, pull the steak out of the fridge and season it with salt for at least one hour. If you don’t have time, take the steak out 30 minutes before cooking and season right before adding to the pan.
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