Tuesday, May 14, 2013

oyakadon: a marriage of the chicken and the egg

"Oyakodon (親子丼), literally "parent-and-child donburi", is a donburi, or Japanese rice bowl dish, in which chickenegg, sliced scallion (or sometimes regular onions), and other ingredients are all simmered together in a sauce and then served on top of a large bowl of rice. The name of the dish is a poetic reflection of the fact that both chicken and egg are used in the dish."

I love Japanese food. But I rarely cook it. I guess I have always thought making Japanese food is a complicated process, and coupled with the fact that I cannot read Japanese, the idea of making anything Japanese (teriyaki being the exception) is pretty daunting.

Other than the sashimi and the sushi, one of the other things I really love about Japanese food are the rice bowls, also known as donburi. Apart from the fact that they are delicious, the idea of making a one-bowl, one-pot, one-plate anything for dinner always intrigues me.

I was at Sakuraya Foods the other day and was looking at the weird and wonderful things on sale when this very friendly Japanese lady started chatting with me. I mentioned my fear of cooking anything Japanese and she explained how easy it was to make donburi. She gave me her recipe for her Oyakodon, and was even nice enough to point out the different sauces that I would need.

I figured that I did not have much to lose. So I bought a bottle each of Bonito Flavoured Soup Base and  Honteri Mirin. The Japanese are great. Instead of having to make dashi, one can substitute with already-prepared bottles of goodness!

Since I had all the other ingredients at home, I only had to buy a bag of Japanese rice, and I was ready to begin. (Instructions on how to cook Japanese rice can be found here.)

I have to confess - I actually made two dinners tonight, in the event that my donburi turned out to be inedible, I would have something else to fall back on.

I started with cooking the rice. I have to say - I have cooked jasmine rice, brown rice, wild rice, risotto rice, basmati rice, but cooking Japanese rice beats them all. I had to rinse the rice until the water was clear, drain the rice for 30 minutes, then add water to the rice and let it soak for 45 minutes before cooking. Sheesh. The end result was worth it, but I cannot say it would be something I would cook everyday. I guess you can substitute the Japanese rice with jasmine rice if you simply cannot be bothered to cook Japanese rice. I will totally understand.

When the rice was cooked, I boiled some water in a saucepan. Once the water had started to boil, I added the onions. I cooked the onions for about 5 minutes to soften them a little (and to remove the raw taste) before adding the chicken and the rest of the ingredients except the eggs and the spring onion.

With the heat on high, I stirred the chicken around a little to ensure that every part was cooked through (about 3-4 minutes). Once that happened,

the egg was poured over the chicken (do not stir) and I covered the saucepan, turned down the heat, and let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes.

The spring onions were added, and the dish was essentially done.

All that remained was to place the chicken, egg, sauce and all over a bowl of piping hot rice,

and tuck in!

Now that I've had success with Oyakodon, I am definitely going to try making other donburi!!!

Oyakodon (Serves 4)

Ingredients (rice):

2 cups Japanese short grain rice
2 cups water

Ingredients (sauce):

1 1/2 cups water
3 chicken thighs, de-boned and cut into small pieces
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
4 tbs Bonito Flavoured Soup Base
4 tbs Honteri Mirin
3 tbs light soy (adjust to preference)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 stalks spring onion, chopped


1. Cook rice.
Instructions: http://www.ibelieveicanfry.com/2012/03/how-to-cook-japanese-rice-with-rice.html
2. Boil water.
3. Add onions and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add chicken, soup base, mirin, light soy and sugar.
5. When chicken is cooked, pour egg over dish. Do not stir.
6. Cover saucepan and simmer 2-3 minutes.
7. Top with spring onion, and serve over rice.

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