Here’s another classic Japanese dish that you can easily make at home: oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Bowl) 親子丼. It is an effortless meal cooking in one pan, where you simmer onions, chicken and eggs in an umami-rich dashi-based sauce. You then pour it all over a tasty bowl of steamed rice, and voilà! It’s a dish you can make in less than 30 minutes.
The literal translation of Oyakodon (親子丼) is “parent-and-child rice bowl.” Chicken (as in parent, oya, 親), egg (as in child, ko, 子), and onions are simmered together in a dashi and soy sauce-based broth then served on top of a bowl of steamed rice (丼).
Do you remember our Gyudon (牛丼, beef bowl) recipe ? This dish is similar to gyudon and katsudon (カツ丼), as in it enters the same category of rice bowl dishes, donburi (丼). Oyakodon is present on many restaurant’s menus, but also an easy do-it-yourself meal to make at home. It’s a bowl that brings warmth and comfort.
Some people liken it to the mac’n’cheese of Japan. With just a few ingredients, get it ready in 30 minutes. It’s a quick and easy one-pot rice bowl and will save you a lot of time in the kitchen.
So here’s what you need to make your own oyakodon.
Now, to make it, start with the classic Japanese sweet-and-savory combination of dashi, soy sauce, sugar and sake. It’s better to use a dry one. Others prefer to use mirin instead, and it works perfectly well too.
Mix everything together and pour it in a sauce pan to simmer. Once you’ve got the small bubbles floating at the surface, add the thinly sliced onions. Actually, there are specifically donburi designed pans, more like a saucer-like skillet, but a regular one will be more than fine.
You can adjust the amount of broth you want to your liking. I enjoy preparing about a cup of broth for every three eggs I want to use, it gives me the perfect balance between smooth and not too watery. That also helps to really simmer the onions down, and concentrates all the flavors in your vegetables.
It should take about 5 minutes for your onions to be ready, and then you can add the sliced chicken. Give them time, and let them absorb all the sauce and tenderize. There’s no rush.
Using boneless, skinless chicken thigh will make it more juicy, but you can easily use chicken breast if you prefer. Make sure to slice it thin so that it cooks faster, and don't let it overcook, you don’t want dry meat! Five to seven minutes for thighs, and three to four minutes will do for breast.
If you have some mitsuba (Cryptotaenia japonica, 三つ葉), Japanese wild parsley, now is your time to try. It’s got a mild flavor and brings lovely aromas to the dish. It’s completely optional, but a lovely addition to your oyakodon.
Then, add the eggs. Don’t over beat them, though, you want them to be a bit rough. You can practice your chopsticks skills to beat the eggs, and drizzle them into the simmering broth. Cook them however you prefer them, but traditionally, they will be left up until half cooked. Once they are ready, pour it all over your bowl of rice, which you had, of course, prepared already, and let the extra juice soak into the rice.
There you go, your own homemade bowl of oyakodon.
Now, you can watch it all in 3 minutes in the video below for a quick recap, and get to your kitchen! Itadakimasu! And don't forget to sprinkle some Japanese shichimi on top for a little more punch.