As I mentioned in the Sukiyaki Donburi post, other than bento, rice bowls are very popular in Japan. Rice bowls are called donburi in Japanese. Donburi is basically a one-meal dish where the rice and the side dish—consisting of either meat, fish, eggs, and/or vegetables—are served together in one big rice bowl as a complete meal. With the right recipe and combination, donburi is guaranteed to please as it’s delicious, convenient, and gratifying. In addition, there are endless variations of donburi that one can make to suit the palate.
One of the most popular and common donburi is oyakodon, or chicken and egg rice. In Japanese, oyakodon or 親子丼 literally means parent and child bowl. I don’t know the origins of the name, but I can tell you that the combination of chicken and eggs on top of rice is utterly delightful.
Egg is an important ingredient in donburi. It’s used to make the simmered egg sauce in many recipes, including oyakodon. The eggs must not be over-beaten; they should remain light and fluffy after simmering with the sauce. More importantly, the simmered chicken and eggs have to soak up the flavors of the seasonings. When serving the chicken and eggs on top of steamed rice, the sauce would lend its flavor to the rice, hence making this simple and humble oyakadon the ultimate donburi dish that everyone loves.
Traditionally, the best oyakodon recipe calls for dashi, or Japanese soup stock made of dried bonito flakes and kombu (dried kelp). I made mine with Mizkan Bonito Flavored Soup Base, which is precisely soy sauce with dashi. Since there is bonito flavoring in the Soup Base, there is no need to make dashi and hence making traditional Japanese cooking very accessible to every home cook. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love Mizkan Bonito Flavored Soup Base; it has become an indispensable item in my pantry. I use it on various Asian dishes, not limited to Japanese cuisine. It’s an amazing condiment that adds flavors to just about everything.
Oyakodon can be made into a bento easily. Get a simple one-compartment bento box, top the steamed white rice with the simmered chicken and eggs, and you have a bento that you can take to work. You can make it for your kids and I am sure they will be very happy to enjoy a bento meal of Japanese chicken and egg rice. Enjoy!