Gyunabe Bento (Beef Hotpot Bento) 牛鍋弁当

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 1/2 lbs thinly-sliced beef

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (for sauce)

  • 1/4 cup mirin (for sauce)

  • 1/4 cup sake (for sauce)

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (for sauce)

  • 1/2 yellow onion

  • 1 soft-boiled egg or ramen egg (see Note 1)

  • 1 stalk Tokyo negi (see Note 2)

  • 1/2 pack yaki tofu (broiled tofu) (see Note 3)

  • 1 tbsp beni-shoga (red pickled ginger)

  • 2 servings rice (~2-3 cups of cooked rice)


  1. Prepare ingredients by cutting half an onion into slices, the Tokyo negi into one-inch pieces (make diagonal slices), and the yaki tofu into one inch-by-two-inch rectangular blocks

  2. In a frying pan on medium heat, add oil then add the yaki tofu to sear on all sides (until a light golden brown) and Tokyo negi (until a nice char on both sides and slightly soft), remove to separate plate

  3. Add a little more oil to the frying pan if necessary, then add in sliced onion and cook until slightly translucent. Add in sauce ingredients (equal parts soy sauce, mirin, sake, plus a little brown sugar) and mix, then add in thinly-sliced beef, cooking until just no longer pink and remove to separate plate

  4. Place yaki tofu in the sauce mix for a couple minutes for it to soak up some flavor

  5. Place a layer of cooked rice in the bento box, then to one side, add the yaki tofu, Tokyo negi, sliced soft-boiled egg / ramen egg and beni-shoga, and fill in the rest with your beef and onion mixture and top it off with the delicious sauce from the pan

  6. Enjoy!

  1. The simplest and easiest option is to make a regular soft-boiled egg (recipes vary but I like to do the following: bring a pot of water to a boil, place egg(s) inside and make sure it is fully submerged in water, then let it sit for 7 minutes at a rolling boil, rotating the egg(s) a few times for the first couple minutes to make sure the yolk is in the center, then dunk in cold water then peel the shell once completely cooled). The second and slightly better option (if you want a little flavor and color but don't have the time) is to place the peeled soft-boiled egg in a plastic bag and pour in equal parts soy sauce, mirin and sake (and a dash of dark soy sauce) until the egg(s) are completely covered, then leave to marinate until you are ready to put the bento box together. The absolute best option (if you have the time) is to make an authentic ramen egg, which includes the same marinade ingredients as above (omit the dark soy sauce), but leave it in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight. You'll really taste the difference and it's perfect to make extra for a ramen meal.
  2. While visually similar to the classic green onion or scallion, the sweet and mild flavors of the Tokyo negi makes it hard to substitute for. I would highly recommend trying to find the Tokyo negi to perfect the dish!
  3. In case you can't find yaki tofu in your local stores, you can definitely substitute regular firm tofu! The reason why yaki tofu is commonly used in simmered dishes like sukiyaki is because it doesn't easily crumble, therefore holding its shape very well.