Happy Donabe Life

Toban Beef with Miso Sauce

Hoba Miso

Hoba Miso is a traditional dish, originate in Hida region of Gifu, Japan. This mountainous region is situated in the northern end of Gifu and has a long snowy winter. So, many preserved foods, including miso, pickles, koya tofu (freeze-dry tofu) etc., were developed there. Hoba Miso is one of their traditional dishes and it’s basically a miso-based sauce, cooked on a dry magnolia leaf. One of the most popular toppings for this dish is beef, as Gifu is famous for its premium Hida Beef, and it’s one of my favorite dishes from Gifu! Here in LA, I enjoy making this dish cooked in Toban (donabe skillet) with local beef. Every time I make this dish, it makes me want to visit Gifu again. Hoba (magnolia) leaf is not readily available in the US, so you can be creative with a different leaf (like a banana leaf?) or simply place a parchment paper on a Toban to cook it.



For larger amount (you can double the recipe), Fukkura-san (large) is recommended.




  • 6 oz (180 g) boneless beef tri-tip or other steak cut, cut into 1/4” (6 mm)-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • 2 tablespoons hatcho miso
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Okinawa black sugar or other raw brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 medium shiitake mushrooms, thinly-sliced
  • 2 green onions, thinly-cut crosswise
  • Ground sansho (Japanese mountain pepper), optional


  1. Rinse and soak the magnolia leaf in water for 30 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Combine the beef with the sake and marinade for a few hours. (This will help tenderizing the meat. But, if you don’t have time, 15 min or so is fine.)
  3. To make the miso sauce, whisk together both kinds of miso, mirin, and sugar in a small bowl. If you only have one kind of miso, you can just replace the other kind of mis with it.
  4. Line the surface of the toban with a piece of aluminum foil and place a magnolia leaf. Spread the miso sauce over the leaf.
  5. Arrange the shiitake and beef on the miso sauce. Set the toban over medium-low heat. Cook for about 15 min or until the meat is cooked to your desired doneness. Meanwhile, turn the meat gently so they can cook evenly. If the miso starts to burn, lower the heat, as necessary.
  6. Once everything is cooked through. Garnish with the green onions and sprinkle some sansho to enjoy.

A recipe video is also available on my YouTube Channel, Happy Donabe Life!


You can just pile up the ingredients and gently heat over toban.

If you cannot find dry magnolia leaves, you can use a piece of parchment paper.


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