I thought it was about time to update this old article of mine when I read the comments by my new friend Sissi at With a Glass!
Oyakodon must count as one of the top 5 as far as poplular food comes in Japan.
It is easy to prepare and improvise with.
Bear in mind that depending upon the region you are in Japan, the ingredients are totally different. For example, in Hokkaido you will be served salmon sashimi and salmon roe!
After all, “oyakodon” means “parent and child bowl” (ingredients!)!
Here are the main lines of a basic recipe here made with chicken and eggs, not bothering about quantities but concentrating on the method.
Steam rice beforehand.
Oyakodon prepared with freshly steamed rice is miles ahead of reheated rice as far as taste is concerned!
Choose breast or thigh chicken. It is up to you to use or discard the skin. I prefer to discard it, unless I deep-fry the chicken first.
Choose the freshest ones as possible with large deep-coloured yolks.
Thinly sliced onion to be cooked together with the oyakodon. Soft winter or spring onions are best!
A lot of people feel like adding other vegetables. Keep in mind they have to be cut thin and need to be fried.
Fresh leafy greens for the final and important touch. My favourite is fresh mitsuba/Japanese homeywort. If not available, I use flat parsley or chopped leeks.
In many regions they also add chopped dry seaweed for the final touch.
You may use water, but dashi is a lot better. I pesonally use seaweed dashi. One might use chicken stock, too.
I add a little soy sauce, sugar, Japanese sake and sweet Japanese sake/mirin.
That is where improvisation and personal taste come in!
You may season with salt and pepper, but bear in mind that soy sauce already contains salt, so easy on that one!
-Cut chicken in small enough pieces. Fry or deep-fry them first. If you fry/sautee them, just season the chicken with a little salt and pepper. If you deep-fry them, season them with salt and pepper and cover them with plenty of cornstarch, unless you prefer the flour, egg and breadcrumbs method.
Once the chicken has been fried to 90%, take out and leave in another plate or on a metallic grill to get rid of excess oil.
-Using only a little oil (that left by the chicken is fine), fry the onion (and other vegetables) until almost properly cooked.
Add soup/stock. bring slowly to boil on a small fire. Add chicken and boil for a minute just to let the taste penetrate the chicken.
During that time, beat eggs (quantity is up to you!) with chopsticks to leave some parts white (some people like them well beaten).
As soon as the chicken has completely cooked, discard some of the soup if too much of it, and add the eggs.
Point 1: the chicken should be tender, not overcooked.
Point 2: Too much soup/stock will prevent the eggs from cooking fast, or you might end up with scrambled eggs
Point 3: the “real” (debatable) recipe calls for the eggs to be only half cooked before transferring the lot onto the rice.
In Kyoto, for example the eggs are most of the time well cooked and topped with a raw egg yolk.
-As soon as you are satisfied with the eggs, transfer the lot on top of a bowl filled with steamed rice.
Decorate with mitsuba and serve.
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