I have fond memories of this simple Japanese dish. I first had it while I was working part time in 1998-1999 in a traditional Japanese restaurant near the university I went to in Kanagawa, Japan. The chef would make this for me after my work shift at 11 pm (I worked after school from 6pm to 11pm on some days) and I would sit down with him and his whole family happily chattering away the time until it’s midnight and I have to bike ride back to my school dormitory.
Those were the days when I can eat late at night and not get fat. Gone are those days.
“Oyakodon” is actually a funny name – derived from two words, “Oyako” and “don”. Don comes from “donburi” which means Japanese rice dishes, those dishes that are served with rice in one bowl. “Oyako” on the other hand is derived from two words too, “Oya” (parent) and “Ko” (child). So translating “Oyakodon” in English sounds horrific – like, straight from a murder story.
Think, parent and child with rice. What!?
But if you see the ingredients you’ll find out why it’s called that.
- 200 g chicken, cut into bite size pieces (I used thighs with skin)
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly with a fork
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 tsp oil (I use Kadoya brand Pure Sesame Oil)
- 1/2 tsp dashi no moto (Hon Dashi Granules) *
- 4 tsp Kikkoman Soy Sauce*
- 4 tsp rice cooking wine *
- 3 tsp Mirin*
- 2 tsp sugar *
- 3/4 cup water *
Mix all ingredients marked * in one small bowl.
1. Heat sesame oil in fry pan and fry the chiken pieces with skin down.
Actually, this is my improvised version. You don’t need to fry the chicken but I like the brownish chicken rather than the pale one in my donburi. I will post the original version of the traditional oyakodon next time.
2. When the skin side is already brown, turn on the other sides until they get that delicious brown color, but not fried all the way.
3. When the chicken pieces have turned brown all over, set them aside in one corner of the fry pan and add the onions and fry them until they turn translucent in color.
4. Add the liquid ingredients (*) and simmer for about 3 minutes. Sorry I didn’t count but just enough to make the chicken tender.
5. Bring the heat to medium and slowly add the beaten eggs. Let it simmer uncovered for 1 minute .
6. Turn off the heat and cover the frying pan.
If you want to get the egg well done and not too runny, you can increase the cooking time in low fire. Do not let it boil or else the egg will disintegrate and will not look appetizing at all.
7. Scoop warm rice on a bowl and pour the oyakodon on top. Garnish with either mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley) or cut nori seaweeds. Serve hot!
Wasn’t that easy or what? Cooking time is only about 10 minutes. If you don’t have chicken pieces, you can still use the same recipe and follow everything as is (except of course the chicken part) and you got yourself another recipe, called “Tamagodon” (tamago = egg).
Dozo, meshi agare! (Enjoy your meal!)
UAE/Dubai residents can get various Japanese ingredients from the Japanese store, Dean’s Fujiya located near Lamcy Plaza in Bur Dubai. Telephone: 04-337-0401.