These beef rice bowls are the epitome of comfort food in Japan. Usually prepared at home, they are also ubiquitous at fast-food restaurants across the country. Gyudon is made from thinly sliced beef and onions coated in a slightly sweet soy sauce-based sauce. Some people prefer a raw or poached egg on top while others sprinkle sesame seeds instead. Feel free to play around with the recipe to create your favorite version of this fast, filling and inexpensive meal.
Pour 1 cup water into a 12-inch skillet. Add the soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar and instant dashi powder, stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the onions and simmer, stirring once or twice, until they start to soften, about 3 minutes.
Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the beef and cook, turning the slices often with tongs, until the meat is barely cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes. For the tenderest texture, cook the meat as little as possible.
Divide the rice among 4 bowls and top with equal portions of the beef and sauce. Top with an egg if using. Garnish with the scallions. Add shichimi togarashi and pickled red ginger, if using.
In place of the instant dashi powder mixed with water, you can use 1 cup homemade dashi. The beef should be cut against the grain into slices about 1/8-inch thick. You can generally find packaged thinly sliced beef at Asian grocers.
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