Did your parents ever admonish you for watching too much TV as a kid? Did Saturday morning cartoons become a thing of the past once you grew up, relegated to memories of simpler days?
Not me. I would consume animated series like water, greedily drinking them in one after another without pausing for a breath of air. Slumber parties consisted of staying up into the wee AM hours to binge watch entire seasons back to back, staying glued to the screen until the lines looked blurry and the words seemed to echo.
After a long period of my life where I took myself too seriously and gave up such pleasures, I’m hooked again, back with a vengeance. My thirst remains unquenchable, but this time around, I fixate on very different details than in my youth. Unsurprisingly, it almost always relates to food.
食戟のソーマ (Food Wars) seems like it should have been an instant hit, being all about one young upstart trying to stake his claim as the best cook in an elite culinary school, but it’s definitely not for everyone. If you can get past the gratuitous nudity and unnecessary sexual innuendo, however, there’s ample inspiration to be found. One of the first dishes that really caught my eye was the Chaliapin Steak.
Despite its western name, this is an original Japanese preparation. Conceived in 1936 for the Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin when he visited Japan, it was created to accommodate a terrible toothache. At the time, he was suffering considerably and wanted only the most tender meat so it was easier to chew. By cooking a prime cut smothered with caramelized onions, the result was just what the dentist would have ordered, if one might have been consulted.
Translated into vegan terms, I thought a hamburger steak made from meatless ground might be even more appropriate. A loosely bound patty turned out to be even juicier, practically melting in your mouth. Plus, this is yet another Japanese innovation, distinctly different from conventional hamburgers and Salisbury steak.
Transforming humble, unremarkable ingredients into a 5-star dish worthy of high honors, the key is patience. It takes time to properly caramelize the onions, not just brown or sauté, to fully extract their natural sweetness.
I chose to serve mine over rice, donburi-style, in keeping with the inspiration, but traditionally this would be presented without much fanfare, perhaps a green vegetable or salad on the side. You can’t go wrong with a basic buttery mashed potato or thick-cut fries, too.
Even if anime isn’t your thing, you’ll still find your stomach growling after this episode.
Chaliapin Hamburger Steak:
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter
- 2 Yellow Onions, Diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 (12-Ounce) Package Meatless Grounds (Such as Beyond Meat or Impossible)
- 1/4 Cup Red Wine
- 2 Tablespoons Mirin
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Water
- 1 Teaspoon Potato Starch
To Serve (Optional):
- 2 Cups Cooked Sushi Rice
- 1 Tablespoon Umeboshi Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Shiso, Finely Minced
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Chives or Scallions, Thinly Sliced
- Start by caramelizing the onions, since that process takes the bulk of the cooking time. Set a medium skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Once liquefied, add the onions and saute for 4 - 5 minutes, until they begin to brown.
- Drop the heat down to low before adding the garlic. Season with salt and continue to cook for 30 - 45 minutes, stirring frequently, until velvety and dark amber colored. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Thoroughly scrape out the skillet with your spatula, getting out all of the onion bits, but don't wash it before returning it to the stove.
- Divide the meatless grounds in half and form into two oblong patties. Try not to handle it too much or pack it down tightly, which will make it more homogeneous and tough.
- Turn the heat back on to medium-high and add the patties. Cook for just 2 minutes, until seared on the bottom, and flip. Cook for another 2 minutes for the same degree of browning. Remove the patties from the pan.
- Deglaze the pan with red wine, mirin, and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes to burn off some of the harsh alcohol flavor. Meanwhile, whisk together the water and potato starch until smooth. Add the slurry into the pan, mix thoroughly to incorporate, and cook until fully thickened; 1 - 2 minutes.
- To serve, mix the sushi rice with umeboshi vinegar and shiso. Divide between two bowls and top each with one of the seared patties. Mound up the caramelized onions on top of the patties, and drizzle the sauce over each one. Finish with a sprinkle of pepper and chives or scallions. Enjoy hot!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 1100mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 6g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.