Tanindon (他人丼) or Tanin Donburi with Ginger


Some of you certainly know (and others maybe remember from my previous post) Oyakodon, a delicious Japanese rice bowl with chicken fried with eggs and onion. Oyakodon (親子丼) or Oyako Donburi (meaning parent and child – i.e. chicken meat and egg – bowl) is the most famous variation of donburi dishes (rice bowl with a topping) and one of the most frequent meals I prepare. In fact, since I made it for the first time it has been on my table for every single Sunday brunch.

When I published Oyakodon recipe, Hiroyuki (from Hiroyuki’s Blog on Japanese Cooking) has drawn my attention to a less famous tanindon (他人丼), “stranger bowl”, prepared more or less like oyakodon, but with beef or pork instead of chicken. Both oyakodon and tanindon are traditionally served with mistuba leaves and when about two weeks ago, I saw a small mitsuba sprig still growing on my balcony I thought it was probably the last chance this year to make tanindon with mitsuba leaves.

I have followed the Oyakodon recipe, choosing pork of which I am very fond of.  I have sliced it very thinly and marinated in ginger and sake. Tanindon proved an very flavoursome oyakodon alternative, with a stronger and livelier taste, but still keeping the same comforting dish character. Even though oyakodon will always have a special place in my heart, the pork version of this donburi, or rice bowl, has also become a staple. Thank you, Hiroyuki, for giving me this wonderful idea!

I usually prepare it with freshly cooked rice and freshly fried meat, but both oyakodon and tanindon are excellent ways to use up leftovers.

TIP: The egg(s) shouldn’t be mixed like when you make scrambled eggs. It should be delicately stirred and the best tool here is a chopstick. You should obtain an egg white with “ribbons” of yolk.

Before I pass to the recipe I would like to express my gratitude to Barbara from Profiteroles and Ponytails for giving me the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, Barbara! I am very proud and flattered by this distinction. The Award consists in revealing some personal facts and giving the award to other bloggers,  but since someone has kindly passed me this award not a long time ago, I hope Barbara will not mind if I simply link to the related post (click here).

Preparation: 25 minutes

Ingredients (serves one):

a portion of freshly cooked rice

50 g pork, thinly sliced and cut into 1 cm strips



1/2  teaspoon  grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon sake

1 small shallot or spring onion, thinly sliced

1- 2 eggs, slightly stirred (see the TIP above)


50 ml dashi (Japanese stock)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon sake

sprigs of mitsuba

Season the pork slightly with salt and pepper, add sake, ginger and let it stand for about 10 minutes.

Fry it or deep-fry it and when it’s almost done, put it aside.

Fry the onions in the same pan and add all the sauce ingredients (previously combined together).

Lower the heat and bring it to boil.

Add the pork and cook together until it is 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 egg over the sauce with pork 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).

Put some hot rice into a bowl and transfer the egg and pork topping onto the rice.

Garnish with mitsuba sprigs.

38 Replies to “Tanindon (他人丼) or Tanin Donburi with Ginger”

  1. I love donburis…. especially the ones with beef, onions and egg. I’ve also tried making it at home once upon a time. Turned out well but there’s this couple (Malaysian wife and Japanese husband) just around the corner from my place who does a reasonably priced restaurant. We love going there for our Japanese food fixes. So I haven’t really bothered with making anything Japanese of my own. Reading and looking at this now makes me want to make a run to the restaurant.

    1. Ping, you are so lucky!!! I can only dream of a Japanese restaurant serving such “non-fussy” dishes as oyakodon or tanindon. Here all the Japanese restaurants serve mainly sushi (it costs lots of money) and are rather fancy or at least very serious places. They also serve hot dishes, but never oyakodon…

  2. Thank your for your Thank you! I really don’t deserve it! I may have mentioned tanindon to you, but only briefly, nothing more.
    Anyway, I’m glad that you chose pork, not beef, because pork is my default meat (laugh).

    1. Hiroyuki, you deserve more than just one “thank you”! If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have heard of tanindon! I haven’t found it in any of my Japanese cookery books and I have never seen it on any blogs I follow.
      I always choose pork if the other choice is beef. (My French butcher employees probably talk about me as the “pork lady” because I buy pork every time I go there, which is the opposite of what the French do!). I love your expression. I will stop saying “I love pork” or “I’m crazy for pork”, but “pork is my default meat” 🙂

  3. This post has too many unfamiliar words and ingredients, damn! I need to work in my vocab. I recently saw a post on tendons and when I saw tanindon I thought it was a jap tendons dish. I am still working on my plan to acquire some Japanese ingredients so I can make these instead of just read about it

    1. I’m sorry, Mr. Three-Cookies. I always try to explain and/or translate all the Japanese terms. If there is anything unclear, please let me know! I will happily explain.

      1. You don’t need to say sorry. You have explained everything well, its just that there are so many ingredients and dishes in Japanese that I am not familiar with. Thanks for introducing us to so many new things.

        1. I know… At the beginning when I started to cook Japanese I was completely lost too. This is also the rewarding part in the Japanese cooking learning process. Step by step you discover new dishes, families of dishes, ingredients… and you learn Japanese 😉 On the other hand Japanese soy sauce, mirin (sweet cooking sake), sake, stock (instant is also excellente) and miso are enough to make many (or maybe most) of the Japanese recipes.
          But seriously, if one day there is something you don’t understand, do not hesitate to ask me!

  4. Sissi, this looks so interesting to me. I’ve not done much cooking like this. I love your tip about stirring the egg with a chopstick!! Truly sounds like a bowl full of flavor and great taste!

  5. Hi Sissi, I read your exchange with Ping – I know what you mean. Sushi restaurants here are so common, and unless you research it carefully, just heading out for an evening of sushi usually means a big disappointment – although you can find the occasional surprise. I found a great place in Boulogne-Billancourt, with really friendly staff, and I find there’s a chain of sushi stores who deliver called “Sushi Shop” (you can even order online – joy!) – They’re stuff is really inspired and they have some wonderfully tasty, colourful types of sushi and maki. I was so happy to find a restaurant in Stockholm’s Gamla Stan area when I stayed there last February called “Shogun” – it’s where I had the sukiyaki, and they had a whole selection of “non-standard” Japanese food, instead of just churning out poorly made maki rolls!

    I love that you really experiment and try so many things – I think eating at your place must be quite an experience! This looks like a delicious meal – warming and tasty, and I just love the finishing touch of the leaves on top!

    1. Hi, Charles. Actually I don’t have problems with finding a good sushi restaurant. I have one favourite and quit expensive (but it’s incredibly good) and one very good fast food chain which makes cheaper and simpler sushi/maki, but quite good.
      On the other hand finding restaurants serving simple Japanese food (like some I have found rue St Anne in Paris) like noodles, oyakodon etc. is impossible. The only yakitori restaurant in town is so expensive I never even went there because I find the prices outrageous.
      Thank you for the compliment 🙂 Oyakodon and Tanindon are one of the easiest and best Japanese meals I can imagine. We really have oyakodon every single Sunday for brunch (unless we are away). It’s been like this for several months and we never get bored with it.

  6. My girls actually really like Japanese food, so I’d like to make this. I will need to research where to buy the bonito flakes and konbu here in Toronto for the Dashi, although I have a couple ideas of where to find them. Thanks for introducing us to the “stranger bowl”.

    And, of course I don’t mind about the link to your seven things. Personally I’m glad that you are no longer a vegetarian, otherwise you wouldn’t be blogging about stranger bowls and other meat dishes!

    1. Barb, this dish would please anyone I think. Even someone who doesn’t like Japanese food (or says he doesn’t like because most people associate Japanese food with fishy flavours and seaweed 😉 ). It’s a bit like almost scrambled eggs with onion, meat and instead of being dry, soaked in the delicious sauce…
      I make my own dashi and then stock it in the fridge for two weeks because I have miso soup quite often, but most Japanese use instant dashi. I think you can buy it in every Japanese shop.
      If you don’t find konbu, you can make a quicker version of dashi only with bonito flakes. I make this one when I want my oyakodon quickly and don’t have any dashi in the fridge. Anyway, please let me know if you have any additional questions.
      Thank you, Barb, for your comprehension and thank you once more for the Award! I am so flattered!
      I don’t know how I could be a vegetarian… I think it was just to make my family furious (I had always been a very carnivorous child before!).

  7. The ginger sake marinade sounds heavenly Sissi…and I love the Japanese tradition of goodness in a bowl – there are so many lively and flavoursome ingredients that you have worked in here – ribbons of yolk is new to me… I will have to try your method; it sounds perfect for this – thanks for the tip!

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. It’s something between a fried egg and scrambled eggs, but much moister (it’s soaked in the delicious sauce…). Since we have it every Sunday, it has become now one of my cmofort dishes (perfect when I feel sad, a bit ill or have a hangover 😉 ).

  8. I love the thinly sliced meat aspect of the dish. Everything about this recipe sounds fantastic. Congrats on the award!! Very well deserved, Sissi. 🙂

  9. Before I forget, let me tell you how much I love your bowl (don’t tell me “again”! lol). Your Tanindon looks delicious! It’s often forgotten or less popular than Oyakodon for some reason, so it’s great you made this dish and shared with us! Yours look delicious and making me want to eat it tonight (but tonight is yakisoba for me)….

    1. Nami, I am happy you like this bowl: this is my favourite! (And this is MY bowl if you know what I mean 😉 ). I like not only the print, but also the form and the size. It was the last one in the shop and they said they wouldn’t have them any more, so now I wash it manually and hope it will last forever. Thank you for the compliment. Your approval means really a lot to me! I wish you could just pop in and taste everything I make to tell me if the flavour is really Japanese 😉

  10. I love Japanese cuisine but I obviously have only scratched the surface. I’ve never had Tanindon, but would love it. It looks delicious! I’ve got to get over to the Asian market and find some ingredients. Congratulations on your Versatile Blogger award!

  11. I love your pork donburi and, if I can ever learn to slice pork and beef thin enough hope to make some rice bowls in the future.

    I’ve made the chicken and egg version a number of times with breaded chicken cutlets conveniently prepared ahead of time and frozen. My next donburi will probably feature some bbq’d pork I marinaded and grilled under the broiler in the oven when I was too broke/lazy to go buy any at the Chinese bbq place. 🙂 No mitsuba though, green onions will have to do.

    1. Thank you so much! I would advise you a good ceramic knife. It cuts meat into very thin slices.
      You chicken and pork donburi sound delicious! The mitsuba you see on the photo is also the last one this year 🙁 I will hopefully have new mitsuba in Spring!

  12. This looks so good, and so simple, I can’t believe I haven’t tried donburi before! I’ll definitely need to remedy that… Love your bowl, by the way 🙂

  13. I have never had tanindon, but I have had something similar, tonkatsu donburi, which is also very yummy but not very healthy as the tonkatsu is deep fried. I love how simple the recipe sounds and yet it looks so delicious and comforting… One reason why I adore Japanese cuisine!

    1. Thank you so much, CG. I love tonkatsu too! It’s true this one is a bit healthier than a tonkatsu bowl… I totally agree about the simplicity and deliciousness of the Japanese cuisine.

  14. This looks fantastic. I love pork and rice together and don’t combine them enough. I know that sounds silly! But I’m more likely to use chicken or beef in this fashion.

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