Oyakodon (Japanese Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl)
Oyakodon, a soupy rice bowl with bite-size chicken and softly cooked egg, is often overshadowed by its more glamorous cousins — katsudon, crowned with a golden breaded pork cutlet, and kaisendon, jeweled with sashimi. But to describe oyakodon's layered textures and sweet-salty sauce of onions melting in soy, sake and mirin, the word magical comes up again and again. This recipe, more subtly seasoned than you might find in a Tokyo cafeteria, comes from the photographer Mika Horie, who grew up cooking it with her mother in Kyoto. It calls for cooking the eggs and chicken in two batches. You can cook all of it at once in a larger skillet, but the results won’t be as pretty.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 6tablespoons dashi (homemade or instant)
- 2tablespoons dry sake
- 2tablespoons mirin or aji mirin
- 2tablespoons soy sauce
- ½teaspoons sugar
- 2skin-on chicken thighs, deboned (do it yourself or ask your butcher)
- 1small onion, thinly sliced, lengthwise
- 6sprigs of mitsuba, cut into 1-inch lengths, or 2 scallions, very thinly sliced on a sharp diagonal
- Short-grained white rice (often labeled sushi rice), cooked, for serving
- Shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-spice chile pepper, sometimes labeled nanami) (optional)
Step 1Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine dashi, sake, mirin, soy sauce and sugar; stir to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
Step 2Heat a small (6- or 7-inch) nonstick (or well-seasoned carbon steel) slope-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the skin side of each piece of chicken until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes (meat will still be mostly raw). Transfer to a cutting board, skin-side down. Dice into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces.
Step 3Cook chicken and egg in two batches: In a small bowl, beat two eggs until yolks and whites are broken, but still distinct. Return skillet to medium-high heat, wiping out any excess grease. Add half the sliced onions and half the sauce (about 1/3 cup), and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until onions just begin soften. Add half the cut-up chicken; simmer for another 1 to 3 minutes, stirring, until chicken is white on the outside.
Step 4Pour about half of the beaten eggs around the pan; let cook undisturbed for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the beaten eggs, and half the mitsuba or scallion. Adjust heat to low, and cook 20 seconds longer. Cover pan with a lid or foil and remove from heat. After a minute, uncover pan; eggs should be wobbly, but not raw (if they need more cooking, return the covered pan briefly to the heat).
Step 5Carefully slide egg, chicken and sauce onto a bowl of cooked rice, trying to keep the mixture from flipping over. Repeat Steps 3 to 5 with remaining ingredients. Serve with shichimi togarashi, if desired.