Gyudon with Kimchi and Onsen Tamago

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Donburi is a Japanese rice bowl dish. Hot steaming rice is place in the bowl topped with fish, meat, or vegetables. The flavorful meat and vegetable juices are absorbed into the rice making it all the more tasty. The toppings need not be fancy. In fact, a simple soft cooked egg drizzled with soy sauce makes a very tasty topping.

Beef donburi also known as Gyudon is very popular in Japan. You can find this fast and inexpensive dish at chain stores across the country. The beef is typically cooked with onions, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar giving it a sweet and salty flavor. Egg is commonly added. Beni shoga (pickled red ginger) and shichimi togarashi (seven flavor chili pepper) are good accompaniments. A bowl of miso soup completes the meal.

When I was a kid, Mom often made half boiled (soft cooked) eggs for breakfast. These were very soft eggs with runny whites and yolks. Fresh brown eggs were placed in a large enamel mug and boiling water poured over to cover the eggs. The lid was placed on the mug and the eggs sat in the hot water bath for 5 to 6 minutes. As soon as the timer went off, the water was drained and the eggs cracked into individual serving bowls. They were then seasoned with a little soy sauce and pepper and served immediately with toast. I remember eating this quite often until I eventually outgrew it. Please note that 5 to 6 minutes may be sufficient in the tropics but over here where it is much cooler, the eggs need to sit for 8 to 9 minutes.

Onsen tamago (hot spring eggs), on the other hand, have firmer egg whites and yolks but they are still soft and creamy. Originally these eggs are slow cooked in baskets lowered into the hot springs. As the temperature in the hot springs is more or less constant, only the timing need to be monitored. Making these at home can be a little tricky as the temperature and timing has to be just right. There are various methods but the easiest and fastest is to use the same method as soft cooked eggs by increasing the time to 11 or 12 minutes instead. The egg in the pictures was a little soft as the water did cool slightly with the lid off while I took pictures. :(

The spicy kimchi is a nice counterpoint to the beef and egg. I used store bought Napa cabbage kimchi this time as it has been a while since I made my own. If you prefer homemade kimchi, do check out my Stuffed Oi Kimchi (Cucumber Kimchi) or Kkakdugi (Radish Kimchi).

Gyudon with Kimchi and Onsen Tamago

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Gyudon with Kimchi and Onsen Tamago


  • 1 lb (450g) sirloin steak, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup (60ml) soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  • ½ tsp hondashi
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Serve with
  • 4 cups cooked short grain rice (preferably hot and steaming)
  • 1 cup Napa cabbage kimchi
  • Slice green onions to garnish


Bring eggs out of the refrigerator. Rinse with warm water from faucet and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes for them to come to room temperature. Mix together soy sauce, mirin, sake, hondashi, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat sesame oil in a large pan. Fry onions until soft, about 2 minutes. Add beef and fry for another 2 minutes. Pour in soy sauce mixture. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. Skim off any scum appearing on the surface. Turn off heat.

While beef is cooking, cook the eggs. Fill a medium sized saucepan with water enough to submerge eggs. Bring water to boil. Turn off heat and remove saucepan from hot stove. Gently lower eggs into hot water and place the lid on. Allow eggs to cook in hot water for 11 to 12 minutes. Drain.

Divide cooked rice into 4 bowls. Pile cooked beef and kimchi onto rice. Crack one cooked egg into each bowl. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

Beef, kimchi, and egg should be piled neatly but separately on top of rice. Serve immediately with a bowl of miso soup.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)

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34 Responses

  1. I just adore eggs…and dishes like this!! So full of flavor!

  2. This looks delicious Biren! I love Kim chee, eggs and rice together, it’s such a comforting meal. I have to try cooking eggs this way, I normally just always fry it but I bet I would like this since I love soft boiled eggs.

    • Biren says:

      It has been a while since I ate soft boiled eggs but I tried this a few times just to get the timing right and I must say that I really do like it. I have had more than my quota for tlast week and this week. Will have to wait a while before indulging again.

  3. What a yummy Gyudon! I really want to live in your house Biren. Your kids are so lucky trying different kinds of food. Gyudon sounds like a perfect dinner here in SF… SO COLD!

    • Biren says:

      Nami, it will be fun if you live close by and we can cook together and sample each others’ dishes. Donburis are great and my boys love them especially katsudon. I think I need to make that next. ;)

  4. This looks so yummy! I like how you served it with kimchi too. Perfect one bowl meal!

  5. Roxan says:

    Yum, I love donburi! Oyakodon is my favorite :) I haven’t had it in a while. Have you seen those special donburi ladles? I want to get one of those.

    • Biren says:

      Oyakodon is very tasty. I like it too. Yes, I do have those ladles, plastic as well as wooden ones. I bought mine in Japan but I have seen it here. You will probably be able to find it at Daiso. Since you are in CA, you can try Japan Town when you visit San Francisco.

  6. Anncoo says:

    Simple and delicious! I would like to have this for my lunch or dinner. The weather here is super hot!

    • Biren says:

      The weather is warming up very slowly here this year. Usually the heater is turned off by late March or early April. This year we had to leave it on as we had frost on Monday, 5/16! It is supposed to be nice and sunny this week….woohoo!

  7. tigerfish says:

    I ate half-boiled egg for breakfast too when I was younger and I love it till today. It is the runny yolk I love…

  8. Peggy says:

    I just love anything that includes a soft egg like this! Everything in that bowl looks so yummy!

  9. Joanne says:

    Imagining that super flavorful beef next to that intense kimchi has my mouth watering! What a delicious bowl!

  10. Blackswan says:

    It’s interesting to see the word Onsen Tamago. I thought you bought the eggs from some hotspring resort. Hahaha! Both of us are fans of Japanese cuisine :) Love it!

    Biren, so sorry your comment on Mouth-watering Thai-style Seabass has disappeared together with my post. Don’t know what happened, but I’ve reposted the recipe. Sigh!

    • Biren says:

      If only we have a hotspring resort here… I guess we are both fans of Japanese food. I also enjoy preparing them.

      Sorry to hear about your missing post. Must have happened when blogger was down for quite a while a few days back.

  11. Wow, this look so yummy, really a comfort meal.

  12. YOu seem that you did a good job with the egg.

  13. Oh my, the colours in this look amazing. I love kimchi! Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Hyosun Ro says:

    I love how you serve this Japanese dish with kimchi. You know we Koreans eat kimchi with everything – even spaghetti. Your gyudon looks delicious too.

  15. Jasmine says:

    OMG you made this! is soooooo lovely and mouthwatering! (: (:

  16. Adora's Box says:

    All the things I love in one bowl. Love kimchi, love gyudon and love coddled eggs the most. Beautiful pictures. They make me feel hungry.

  17. Faith says:

    Such a beautiful rice bowl dish with so many different flavors! Looks very comforting and delicious, Biren!

  18. Lyndsey says:

    I have always wanted to try this, your photos are a great help. I have never been able to eat jiggly eggs, but no problem I’ll just let it cook longer :D I do have some vintage egg cups that have a small end for hard boiled and turn it over to a larger cup for soft boiled eggs. I remember watching my mom dip her toast into it.

    • Biren says:

      I have not had those “jiggly” eggs for a while and I was craving them. They really are quite delicious. I do like eggs but try to limit my intake because of the cholesterol.

      I would love to see your vintage cups. How fun that they can do double duty. :)

  19. pachecopatty says:

    Hi Biren, your dish is so appealing with all the various components and I think the soft cooked egg for a sauce just makes it;-) I have never tried kimchi, now I’m curious!

  20. yummy kimchi on this lovely colourful presentation

  21. Rebecka says:

    Biren, My mouth is watering looking at that delicious bowl of Gyudon! I just visited my favorite Korean restaurant and had some delicious kimchi. It’s the only restaurant I’ve found in Colorado that makes it the way I like it….however, I don’t get out much!!lol Beautiful dish!

  22. kristy says:

    Your kimchi look so red! I can’t have it too hot. Just made a batch and is ready to be used. Medium hot! Japanese & Korean people are both eat very very healthy food. They seldom eat deep fried food especially the Korean, and that’s what make their skin so silky fair. Hope you’re having a great day.

  23. What a great dish with so many wonderful flavors…you always introduce me to something new to me :) I love the preparation of the egg itself, love this :)

  24. Cindi says:

    Another fantastic recipe!! So much hard work, Biren, to bring us all this wonderfulness. Thanks you.

  1. August 17, 2011

    […] you like soft cooked eggs but do not have egg coddlers, please check out this post Gyudon with Kimchi and Onsen Tamago on how to prepare the […]

  2. August 28, 2014

    […] Do not overcook the egg. It is usually left a little soft and runny like Onsen Tamago. […]

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