Oyakodon or Oyako Donburi belongs to the “donburi” dishes category. Donburi (丼) means either a rice bowl or a rice-bowl dish and includes many quick Japanese rice dishes with different toppings. Oyakodon (親子丼) means “parent and child donburi” and this charming name refers to its main ingredients: chicken and eggs. Oyakodon is apparently the most popular of all the donburi dishes and the first one I have ever prepared (or tasted). I have decided to publish the recipe just before the weekend, since I feel this is a perfect weekend breakfast, brunch or lunch idea!
Since it is very popular, I have heard or read about oyakodon hundreds of times and had been meaning to prepare it for a long time. When I saw an oyakodon photo on Shizuoka Gourmet’s blog, it reminded me I still haven’t tried this apparently quick and easy dish. When, in one of the following Shizuoka Gourmet’s posts the author gave an extremely detailed and well explained oyakodon recipe, I simply couldn’t resist. I had chicken, I had eggs (not to mention the rice) and prepared it for lunch the same day. It was so delicious, easy and quick, I also had it for lunch the following day! I already feel it will be one of my favourite and most frequently prepared Japanese dishes (or rather dishes in general). Thank you Robert-Gilles!
Now that I had it twice, “versatile” is probably the word I would use to describe oyakodon. Depending on the circumstances and personal habits, this dish is perfect for a nourishing breakfast, lunch, Sunday brunch, afternoon snack and a quick late-night dinner. It is also versatile in the sense that, contrary to some Japanese dishes, this one will be enjoyed even by those who approach the Japanese cuisine sceptically. In my opinion it has a universal taste with a slight Japanese hint.
The amounts of the below ingredients can be adjusted according to your personal preferences. I used here a low-sodium soy sauce and have put quite a lot of chicken (especially when I compare my very messy bowl to the photo on the Shizuoka Gourmet’s blog). I was also lucky to have mitsuba leaves, grown patiently on my balcony (thank you Hiroyuki for the kind gardening advice!), but I suppose any green fresh herb of your choice can be used, e.g. chives which go very well with eggs.
It is best with freshly made rice and freshly fried chicken, but it can also be a good idea to use leftover meat and the leftover, heated rice. If you are very hungry, I would advise two eggs per person.
TIPS: The eggs shouldn’t be mixed like when you make scrambled eggs. They should be delicately stirred and the best tool here is a chopstick. You should obtain egg whites with “ribbons” of yolk.
If you use breast, add the meat only after having fried the onion. Otherwise it will get dry (see the instructions below)
Preparation: 15 minutes
Ingredients (serves one):
a portion of freshly cooked rice
1/2 g chicken leg or breast (boneless, skinned), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 shallot or big spring onion (white part only) or 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 eggs, slightly stirred (see the tip above)
50 ml dashi (Japanese stock)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake (or 1 tablespoon sake + 1 tablespoon mirin, if you like egg dishes slightly sweetish; UPDATE: I stopped adding mirin here a long long time ago)
sprigs of mitsuba or chopped chives or any fresh herb you feel that suits this dish
Season the chicken pieces slightly with salt and pepper.
If you use leg meat, fry it or deep-fry it and when it’s almost done, put it aside. (If you use breast, add it later; see below)
Stir-fry the onion in 1 tablespoon oil, if using breast meat (or in the same pan, unwashed, if you have fried leg meat) and when it becomes golden, pour all the sauce ingredients.
Lower the heat and bring it to boil.
Add the fried leg meat or the raw breast meat and cook together until it is almost done (do not overcook!).
(Here, if you judge the sauce amount is too big, discard some of the sauce. Using the above amounts of liquids I have never felt like discarding it).
Pour the stirred eggs over the sauce with chicken and, without mixing, wait until it is cooked. (I don’t like runny eggs, so they are always well cooked, but the consistency depends on personal preferences). You can cover with a lid if you don’t want the sauce to evaporate.
Put some hot rice into a bowl and transfer the egg and chicken topping onto the rice.
Garnish with mitsuba sprigs (or any fresh herb you have, such as chives).