Have you ever ordered donburi at a Japanese restaurant? It’s a single-serve, one-dish meal—a big bowl of rice with savory toppings. The donburi items are usually the cheapest on the menu since inexpensive rice is the base.
Oyako donburi, rice topped with chicken and egg in a sauce, is especially easy to make. It’s economical because half a chicken breast and two eggs will stretch to serve two people.
Admittedly, you may have to purchase a few Japanese staples: mirin (Japanese sweet cooking sake), regular sake and dried shiitake mushrooms. But your investment will pay off handsomely, because these ingredients keep well and can be used in other recipes. For example:
For leftover mirin
For leftover sake
Dried shiitake mushrooms will keep almost indefinitely and their use is not limited to Japanese dishes. You can rehydrate them, slice, sauté and add to pastas, omelets or stews when you want a meaty, mushroom flavor.
If you don’t have an electric rice cooker, check out our video on how to cook rice on stovetop. Nori, the kind of seaweed sheets used for sushi, is an optional garnish, but it does add so much flavor I encourage you to purchase some. To toast nori, please see this short video. Freeze the remaining nori sheets in a zipper-top plastic freezer bag to use another time.
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Makes 2 servings
2 small dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet cooking sake)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1/2 breast), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 green onions, sliced on the bias (about 1/4 cup)
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups hot cooked rice
1/2 sheet nori, toasted and cut into thin strips (optional)
Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes to rehydrate. When mushrooms are rehydrated, squeeze dry. Trim stems and discard; slice mushroom caps thinly. Save the mushroom soaking water.
In a medium saucepan combine sake, mirin, soy sauce and sugar and the shiitake mushroom soaking water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Add the chicken and mushrooms; bring to a boil and simmer about 2 minutes until chicken is mostly cooked. (Test by taking out a chicken cube and cutting in half. No blood should run out but meat should be very moist.) Add green onions, stir and add beaten eggs, pouring in a circular motion to cover the surface of the pan. Cover skillet and simmer 2 to 3 minutes more until egg is still moist but set.
Spoon rice into two large soup or cereal bowls, dividing equally. Add 1/2 of the egg and chicken mixture to each bowl and spoon sauce over, dividing equally. Garnish with nori strips, if desired.
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