Oyakodon is a classic form of Japanese rice bowl dishes called donburi. Oyako means "parent and child," which is represented by chicken and egg. Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat's version in their new cookbook, Japanese Soul Cooking, is at once delicate and comforting. They begin by simmering boneless chicken thighs with sliced onions in a broth made of mirin, soy sauce, sake, and dashi. Next, in a pretty slick move, they cook lightly beaten eggs in two layers. Most of the eggs are poured into the pan and cooked through with the chicken, but right before serving, they add a bit more egg that just barely cooks, so it still retains a runny texture. The whole egg-chicken-broth mixture is served over a steaming bowl of rice, which sops up the remaining broth.
Why I picked this recipe: I was fascinated by this cooking method as it was unlike anything I had ever tried in my kitchen.
What worked: If you're looking for a new quick, comforting weeknight meal this winter, look no further than this chicken donburi. Seriously, so good.
What didn't: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: This oyakodon is so simple, and so wonderful as written, it's hard to suggest changes. Make it once as written before fiddling with anything.
Reprinted with permission from Japanese Soul Cooking: Ramen, Tonkatsu, Tempura, and More from the Streets of Tokyo and Beyond by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat. Copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 1 pound onions, peeled
- 1 pound boneless chicken legs or thighs (about 2 chicken legs or 4 thighs), skinned and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup sake
- 1/2 cup dashi
- 8 eggs
- 6 cups cooked Japanese white rice
- 1/4 cup mitsuba leaves (optional)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion (optional)
- 1/4 cup crumbled nori (optional)
- Shichimi togarashi
Cut the onions in half lengthwise, from top to bottom (axis to axis). Cut each half into 1/4-inch slices, also cutting lengthwise.
Combine the onions, chicken, mirin, soy sauce, sake, and dashi in a saucepan and place over high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the chicken cooks through. Mix the ingredients occasionally as they cook.
To prepare the oyakodon one serving at a time: Break 2 eggs into a bowl, and lightly beat the eggs, no more than 10 times. You want part of the yolk and whites to be lightly mixed, while other parts are still separated.
Transfer one-fourth of the chicken mixture (about 1 1/2 cups chicken, onions, and broth) to a small skillet. A 6-inch skillet works great. Place the skillet over high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat so the broth is simmering.
Pour three-fourths of the egg mixture over the chicken, onions, and broth. Do not mix. Cook for about 1 minute, then add the remaining one-fourth egg over the ingredients in the skillet. Cover the skillet and cook for 30 seconds more. Turn off the heat, and let the oyakodon rest, covered, for 1 minute.
While the oyakodon is resting, scoop 1 1/2 cups of the cooked rice into a serving bowl. When the oyakodon is ready, uncover and slide the entire contents out of the skillet to rest on the rice. Tilt the skillet and use a spatula if necessary; the oyakodon should slide out easily. Garnish with the mitsuba, scallions, and nori. Accent with the shichimi togarashi to taste. Serve immediately, and repeat this preparation for the remaining servings.
To prepare all the servings at once: Pour the entire chicken and onion mixture into a large skillet (an 11-inch cast-iron skillet works great). Place the skillet over high heat. When the broth comes to a boil, reduce the heat so the liquid is simmering.
Lightly beat 8 eggs. Pour three-fourth of the eggs over the chicken mixture. Do not mix. Cook for about 1 minute. Pour the remaining one-fourth eggs over the ingredients in the skillet. Cover and cook for 30 seconds more. Turn off the heat and allow the oyakodon to rest for 1 minute.
Divide the cooked rice among 4 large bowls. Use a large serving spoon to scoop the oyakodon from the skillet and place over the rice. Garnish as desired.
Variation: If you prefer your eggs cooked through, in the final step pour all the eggs over the chicken, onions, and broth in the small skillet. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the oyakodon rest, covered, for 1 minute.