Low Carb Hamburger Steak (Hambagu)

I’ve made many, many burgers with variable results. Burgers on the grill or on the stove top and I’ve always been plagued by the fact that they often fall apart or are dense and dry. Then I came across Japanese hamburgers and oh my – the juiciness and tenderness was incomparable! And I love how, for the Japanese, the hamburger steak is really a thing – who needs burger buns when you can have the the burger patty served on a hot plate with bean sprouts and enoki mushrooms? There is a Japanese Hamburger Steak joint in Singapore that we usually hang out in on Sundays – the hamburger steaks are truly succulent and the kids and hubs adore the egg and salad side buffet. The only problem is that Japanese burgers usually are tender because they are full of panko bread crumbs…definitely a no-no for low carb eating, so as usual I decided that these awesome hamburger steaks need to be transformed for home cooking!

There are great Japanese cooking blogs online and my recipe is mostly modeled after the recipe in Just One Cookbook. This is an awesome blog and the Japanese recipes always work! And so if you weren’t into low carb cooking I would definitely recommend going with the recipe on that blog; but for my own needs the tweaks I made to keep it low carb and keto worked. Almond flour is a decent substitute for panko bread crumbs, and cream is a typical keto substitute for milk. I also made adjustments to the red wine sauce because the sugar-free ketchup is actually a little different in taste and texture from regular ketchup. Actually I don’t always have sugar-free ketchup on hand and I suspect using a tomato purée but adding some sugar substitute may also be just as good.

So it’s been 2 weeks since my helper went for her vacation and to be honest I’ve noticed a difference in the way I cook. I keep cooking simpler so as to minimize the amount of washing up after! And less deep frying so that I don’t have to do a deep clean of the stove top. The great thing about these burgers is that there was minimum splatter and everything is done within the same skillet, which is why I had a smug sense of achievement after this cookout! Definitely this recipe guarantees minimum big clean up post cooking!

Low Carb Hamburger Steak

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print



  • 500 g minced beef
  • 250 g minced pork
  • 1/2 onion, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 1 medium egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine

Red wine sauce

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar-free ketchup (I used Walden’s)
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp red wine
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum


  1. Heat up a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions until lightly caramelized.
  2. Mix the beef, pork, almond flour, salt, ground pepper, and ground nutmeg together. Beat the egg and cream together and add to the meat mixture. Stir through well.
  3. Take a handful of meat mixture and form into a patty. Toss the patty from one hand to another about 5-6 times to try to pack the patty together more tightly. This will remove the air in the burger patty that will cause it to crack in the cooking.
  4. Place the patty on a plate and continue making patties till finished. This recipe makes 6 medium-sized patties. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep skillet. Carefully place all the burger patties in the skillet, indenting the center of each burger patty with your fingers. The surface of the burger will rise with the cooking.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip the burgers over. Add the red wine into the bottom of the skillet, then cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
    Uncover the skillet and remove the burgers and place on a plate. Allow the red wine to reduce for 3-4 minutes.
    Add the butter and red wine sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.
    Sprinkle the xanthan gum over the surface of the sauce and stir vigorously for another 1-2 minutes to thicken the sauce. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl.
    Serve the hamburger steak on its own or over some zoodles or cauliflower rice. In the picture I placed the hamburger steak over some zoodles tossed with romesco sauce and drizzled with the red wine sauce.


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