The Japanese word Donburi (丼) refers to a type of bowl used to serve food in; it also refers to a class of dishes served in the eponymous vessel. Donburis range from Gyudon (牛丼), to Katsudon (カツ丼), to Soborodon (そぼろ丼), but perhaps the most famous rice bowl is Oyako Donburi (親子丼) which is often shortened to Oyakodon.
I’ve done a version of this classic chicken and egg rice bowl before, but Oyakodon is one of those home-cooking dishes that’s made in about as many ways as there are cooks who make it. Today, I want to share another style of this lunchtime staple which uses a different technique to cook the chicken.
Instead of pan-frying the chicken first, it gets simmered in dashi broth. Because the chicken isn’t subjected to high temperatures, it remains tender and juicy. The only downside is that you don’t get quite as much flavor out of the chicken. To compensate, I throw in a handful of onions to the dashi before adding the chicken. The onions add a ton of flavor to the broth while also giving the Oyakodon a mellow sweetness that balances out the savory soy sauce.
I usually have a bottle of smoky umami-rich home-made dashi on hand to make short work of dishes like this, but you could also make this using chicken stock in a pinch.
To finish things off, an even drizzle of eggs go over the chicken, which helps bind everything together while thickening the dashi. I like my eggs a bit runny, which is why I let them steam until the eggs are still a bit jiggly on top, but this is an area you can adjust to suit your preferences. Another area of personal preference is the chicken. In Japan, Oyakodon is made with skin-on chicken thighs, but if you don’t like the texture of chicken skin, feel free to use skinless thighs.
Slide the chicken and egg mixture onto a bowl of steaming hot rice, top it off with a sprinkle of mitsuba (a.k.a. Japanese parsley) and shichimi togarashi, and you have a colorful lunch-in-a-bowl that’s soul-satisfyingly good. With big chunks of plump, juicy chicken that are barely held together with creamy egg infused dashi, each bite is a revelation on how a few simple ingredients can be so delicious when put together in the right way.
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl until they're about half mixed, but there are still some white areas remaining.
In a small frying pan about the diameter of the bowl you plan to serve your Oyakodon in, add the dashi, sake, soy sauce, sugar, and onions, breaking up any clumps of onion as you add them.
Bring the dashi to a simmer and cook until the onions are almost tender (about 3 minutes)
Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked through (about 4 minutes).
- Drizzle the egg over the chicken in a figure eight pattern to ensure it's evenly distributed.
Turn down the heat, and then cover and steam the eggs for 1-2 minutes or until they are you done to your liking. As the egg steams, smack the bottom of the pan against the burner a few times to redistribute the eggs so that they cook evenly.
- Add one serving of rice to a large bowl while the egg steams. When the egg is done, slide the chicken and egg onto the rice. Garnish your Oyakodon with scallions or mitsuba and shichimi togarashi to taste.