So we all know that cooking Thai, Japanese, or Vietnamese recipes often involves going out and getting a whole slew of different condiments…but none of us want half-opened bottles of fish sauce, hoisin, or pickled ginger sitting around in our fridges until our next craving… I like recipes where I only have to go out and buy one special ingredient. In this case, it’s Bulldog sauce. (incidentally, bulldog sauce is usually used for Tonkatsu– kind of like Japanese wiener schnitzel/pork cutlet). If you’re interested in authentic homestyle Japanese hambagu, I highly recommend Cooking with Dog. (Actually, you should go click that link anyway, because it’s a veritable treasure trove of recipes where a female chef shows you how to do everything and her adorable poodle, Frances narrates in pretty funny Japanglish).

Go out and get yourself some Bulldog Sauce (Amazon if you’re desperate, but I found Bulldog sauce at my local Hyvee grocery store and pretty much at any Asian grocery).

For the recipe here, I started with Just One Cookbook (Nami)’s recipe and then “healthified it” with ground turkey for my family since I don’t eat beef. I also go with Naoto’s sister’s sauce rather than the several-ingredient one Nami uses, but that’s personal taste. Pretty much everyone loves it. And you can serve it with mashed potatoes or Japanese potato salad or rice, roasted carrots and a green salad and its awesome.

  • ½  large onion
  • 1 Tbsp. oil for sautéing onion
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • ⅓ cup (20 g) panko or any other kind of bread crumbs (sometimes I just crumple up a piece of whole wheat bread)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional seasoning add ins: chopped garlic or powdered garlic, celery seed, tarragon

Chop the onion finely. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat and sauté the onion until translucent. Season with salt and pepper.Transfer to a large bowl and let it cool. Add the meat, egg, milk, Panko, salt, black pepper (and any of the optional seasonings that turn you on) in the bowl and mix all together. Mix the meat well with your hands until the mixture gets sticky. Make about 6 oval shaped patties. You can put them in the fridge for 30 minutes for seasonings/meat to combine, but I often don’t have the time for this step.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering and place the patties gently on the pan. Indent the center of each patty with 2 fingers because the center of patties will rise with heat.Cook the patties about 5 minutes. Do not flip until nicely browned.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes to thoroughly cook the inside of the patties (adjust cooking time depending on thickness). Then uncover and transfer patties onto a plate. Into the juices, put the butter, Bulldog and ketchup and stir. Put patties back into the pan, nestling them into the sauce (you can also add oven-roasted baby carrots here and make them saucey and delicious too). Cover, turn down to simmer/low, and cook for another 5-8 minutes to make sure meat cooks all the way through. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice 🙂