Hayashi Rice

Have you ever had hayashi rice? It’s a beloved dish, right up there with omuraisu and curry rice, but doesn’t get as much attention here in the U.S. I ate it growing up, but it fell off my radar until our last trip to Japan. Quickly, it’s become one of our favorites so I knew I wanted to share it with you here.

The flavor is hard to describe—it’s beefy and tomatoey—both savory and sweet, which is why it’s popular among kids. It’s one of those fusion foods that has made its way into the cuisine. There are different versions that use mushrooms and peas, but for me, eggplant is a must.

The recipe for the hayashi sauce makes double what you’ll need. You can store the remaining half in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for a month. Be sure you squeeze out all the air when you seal the bag.


Hayashi Rice

Adapted from きょうの料理2010年10月号
Makes 2 to 3 servings

5 Tbsp flour
5 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup (150ml) water
scant 1/2 cup (100ml) ketchup
scant 1/4 cup (50ml) tonkatsu sauce
scant 1/4 cup (50ml) red wine
1 Tbsp shoyu
1 Tbsp honey
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 oz (30g) butter

In a medium pot, combine the flour and cheese and whisk together. Slowly add the water in a steady stream while whisking, to avoid clumps. Add the ketchup, tonkatsu sauce, wine, shoyu, honey, bouillon cubes, and butter. Turn the heat to medium and combine with a rubber spatula. Set a timer to 5 mins and constantly stir until the sauce has thickened.

Remove from heat and cover. Let cool.

The following recipe uses only half of the sauce, so you can store the remaining sauce in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for 1 month.


2 Tbsp oil
2 eggplant, cut in half lengthwise and sliced in 4 sections on the diagonal
5.25 oz (150g) thinly sliced beef, cut into bite-sized pieces and sprinkled with salt and pepper
1/2 onion, sliced into thin wedges
1/2 hayashi rice sauce (above)
3/4 cup (150ml) hot water

Soak the eggplant in salt water for 2 mins. Drain, then pat dry. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook until the oil has been absorbed and the eggplant starts to soften. Add the onion and beef and cook until the beef is no longer pink and the onion has softened, about 5–6 mins.

Add the sauce and mix until combined. Then, add the hot water slowly, stirring well to incorporate. Turn the heat to low and cook for 2 mins, stirring occasionally.

Add a pat of butter to the cooked rice and fold together. Serve with hayashi beef sauce.

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  1. Posted March 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I think I have heard about this dish, but never tasted. It sounds very homely and comforting. No wonder it’s a beloved dish. I will probably wait until our aubergines are in season here, but I already feel I would love it.

  2. Posted March 4, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Sissi, I think this must sound like a really strange dish, but I hope you have a chance to try it and let me know what you think!

  3. Giuseppe
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    That looks great, i will have to try it.


  4. Posted March 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t had it with eggplant but I’ve always had it with at least mushrooms and potatoes. I always keep any sauce in the slow cooker for a couple hours so soft, slow-cooked eggplant would be a welcome addition. I like everything wrapped in an omelette with butter-fried rice with garlic, topped with hayashi sauce.

  5. Posted March 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    karen c., the addition of an omelette is a a good one. It’s been a common in Japan to serve it this way, a bit like omuraisu. I’ve also seen it served with a drizzle of cream, which also sounds divine! Thanks for your comment.

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