A one bowl meal: oyakodon

 Oyako DonburiThere are many donburis (丼) in Japan. Which is really just a rice bowl with the main on top, so that the rice absorbs the delicious sauce creating a satisfying meal. By far the most requested donburi recipe is the oyakodon (親子丼), which translates to parent child rice bowl. Typically this refers to chicken and egg, but you could do something like salmon and salmon roe if you're really baller or feel like treating yourself.

The chicken and egg version is really simple and the ingredients are easy to find. The hardest part about the recipe is making sure that you don't overwork the egg. Make sure to leave some whites separated when you scramble the eggs and don't aerate. Once you've added the egg into the dish, you need to keep an eye on the stove and turn off the heat right before it sets. With a couple of practice runs, you should be able to master the oyakodon.

Oyako Donburi MiseSo what do we need for this recipe? You guessed it, some more dashi. Seeing a trend? We'll also be seasoning with soy sauce, mirin, and white sugar. Other than that, we'll be using chicken thighs, eggs, onions, and some scallions for garnish. And rice. Preferably Japanese sushi rice (I promise to do a post on rice in the near future but in the meantime my preferred brand is Kagayaki).

I almost always use chicken thighs and because I'm lazy it's usually boneless skinless chicken thighs (but really most Japanese recipes use boneless skin-on chicken thighs so if you can, buy the bone in and debone). With every meat, the tougher muscular cuts will always be juicier because of all the collagen build up as the animal works the muscle. Collagen when cooked over time turns into gelatin providing moisture and flavor. Fat also equals flavor. So the thigh meat with higher collagen and fat is much more flavorful and less likely to become dry. That means that if you're worried about overcooking chicken, you're better off getting chicken thigh. It is just so much more forgiving than breast meat. You can always trim off the excess fat. In fact, chicken thighs have always been more expensive in Asia than the breast cut because there is much more demand for it. For years I benefited from cheaper pricing in the US but it seems people have finally caught on to the magic of chicken thighs.

Oyako Donburi StepI have terrible lighting around my stove but I decided to share this photo anyways to demonstrate how to cut the chicken and slice the onions. Don't worry about getting a sear on the chicken, searing is not essential in Asian cuisine. Once the chicken is cooked through and the onions are tender, add the egg and you are ready to garnish and enjoy your efforts.

Cuisine: Japanese
Author: Yukari
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
  • 200g boneless skinless chicken thigh
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 onion
  • 400g rice, cooked
  • 2/3 cup dashi
  • 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Scallions for garnish
  1. Slice the onion (1/3" thick) and scallions and cut the chicken into bite size pieces (be careful not to cross contaminate raw chicken)
  2. Bring the dashi to a simmer in a pan over medium heat and add the chicken and onions
  3. Once the dashi comes back to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low and add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to the pan
  4. Let everything simmer for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the onion is tender
  5. Whisk the eggs enough to break the yolks but make sure to leave some whites separated to achieve the glossy barely cooked egg texture (if you dislike barely set whites, whisk the eggs completely but do not aerate)
  6. Slowly pour the egg into the pan in a circular motion starting at the center and let it cook until the whites are barely set
  7. Pour the chicken and egg over a bowl of rice and garnish with scallions


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