Oyakodon, a 3 day masterpiece or a 15-minute wonder

Three versions of oyakodon follow. The first is the most complex for Maximum Umami. The other two take no more than 20 minutes from start to finish.

As usual, there’s a YouTube video that shows you all the steps.

For One Serving
1/2 cup of strong dashi (120ml)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon soy sauce (7-15ml)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon mirin (7-15ml)
1/4 onion, sliced
1/2 boneless chicken thigh with skin (150 grams)
1 - 2 eggs
The green from a leek, negi, scallion (optional)
Mitsuba (optional)
Sansho (optional)

Four Servings
2 cups of strong dashi (480ml)
2 - 4 tablespoons soy sauce (30-60ml)
2 - 4 tablespoons mirin (30-60ml)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 boneless chicken thighs with skin (600 grams)
4 - 8 eggs
The green from a leek, negi, scallion (optional)
Mitsuba (optional)
Sansho (optional)

Dashi

1. Strong homemade dashi: 30 grams kombu, 30 grams bonito flakes  per 1 liter of water
2. Soak the kelp/kombu in 1 liter of water overnight (between 8  to 24 hours), remove and bring to the simmer. 
3. Add the bonito flakes and keep at the simmer for 2 minutes then strain through a fine mesh sieve. (If you're fussy, you can strain through a paper towel or coffee filter, otherwise particulate will settle at the bottom of the bowl which you can remove later. )
4. Let the dashi cool to room temperature. 

Prepare the Chicken

1. Salt your chicken on both sides for fifteen minutes. 
2. Pour 2 cups of dashi in a flat pan.
3. Rinse off the salt and dry the chicken.
4. In a skillet, sear the chicken on both sides, skin side first to render the fat. (Note: if you're using a regular skillet, brush the skin with a flavorless oil to prevent sticking.)
5. When the chicken is good and hot add it to the dashi to cool to room temperature. (Note: As the chicken cools, it will absorb the flavors from the dashi. At the same time, the dashi will take on the chicken flavor. This maximizes the umami in the chicken while making the sauce that flavors the rice rich in chicken flavor for an amazing end result.)
6. You can keep the chicken in the fridge for several days or when it reaches room temperature, you can proceed. 

Mise in Place

1. Remove the chicken from the dashi and slice or dice
2. Per one cup chicken dashi add 1 - 2 tablespoons of both soy sauce and mirin. 
3. Slice half an onion into slices as thick as you please.
4. Partly beat 1 - 2 eggs
5. Chop the green from a leek, negi, or scallion and/or, if you can find it, mitsuba (a Japanese herb/vegetable). 
6. Reserve an egg yolk if you like.
7. Reserve sansho if you like.

Making the Oyakodon

1. In a skillet or saucepan wide enough to hold your liquid so that it can poach the ingredients, add 1/2 - 1 cup of the chicken dashi.
2. Add 1/4 - 1/2 of the sliced onions. Bring to a boil on med-high heat, cover and let cook for no more than two minutes.
3. Uncover and add the meat, about 150 grams per person, or half the leg/thigh. Cover and cook for five minutes. 
4.  Turn down the heat to low and add 3/4 of the egg mixture. Cover and cook for two minutes.
5. Add the rest of the egg and cook to your desired doneness. (Note: The egg is cooked in two portions to give two different textures, a firm and less firm egg. Typically, the egg is undercooked by Western standards, is perfect by Japanese standards.)
6. Pour the sauce over a bowl of rice and top with the chicken and egg mixture. 
7. Garnish with egg yolk, the green vegetable, and/or sansho.

Regular Oyakodon

For One Serving
1/2 cup of dashi (120ml)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon soy sauce (7-15ml)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon mirin (7-15ml) [see note at bottom]
1/4 onion, sliced
1/2 boneless chicken thigh with skin (150 grams)
1 - 2 eggs
The green from a leek, negi, scallion (optional)
Mitsuba (optional)
Sansho (optional)

Prepare your ingredients:

  1. Slice or dice the chicken
  2. Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of both soy sauce and mirin to the dashi.
  3. Slice half an onion into slices as thick as you please.
  4. Partly beat 1 - 2 eggs
  5. Chop the green from a leek, negi, or scallion and/or, if you can find it, mitsuba (a Japanese herb/vegetable).
  6. Reserve an egg yolk if you like.
  7. Reserve sansho if you’d like.

Making the Oyakodon

  1. In a skillet or saucepan wide enough to hold your liquid so that it can poach the ingredients, add the dashi.
  2. Add the sliced onions. Bring to a boil on med-high heat, cover and let cook for no more than two minutes.
  3. Uncover and add the chicken. Cover and cook for five minutes.
  4. Turn down the heat to low and add 3/4 of the egg mixture. Cover and cook for two minutes.
  5. Add the rest of the egg and cook to your desired doneness. (Note: The egg is cooked in two portions to give two different textures, a firm and less firm egg. Typically, the egg is undercooked by Western standards, is perfect by Japanese standards.)
  6. Pour the sauce over a bowl of rice and top with the chicken and egg mixture.
  7. Garnish with egg yolk, the green vegetable, and/or sansho.

High Protein/Healthy Oyakodon

For One Serving
1/2 cup of dashi (120ml)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon soy sauce (7-15ml)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon mirin (7-15ml) [see note at bottom]
1/4 onion, sliced
1/2 skinless chicken breast (150 - 300 grams)
2 - 4 egg whites
The green from a leek, negi, scallion (optional)
Mitsuba (optional)
Sansho (optional)

Prepare your ingredients:

  1. Slice or dice the chicken
  2. Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of both soy sauce and mirin to the dashi.
  3. Slice half an onion into slices as thick as you please.
  4. Reserve the egg whites.
  5. Chop the green from a leek, negi, or scallion and/or, if you can find it, mitsuba (a Japanese herb/vegetable).
  6. Reserve an egg yolk if you like.
  7. Reserve sansho if you’d like.

Making the Oyakodon

  1. In a skillet or saucepan wide enough to hold your liquid so that it can poach the ingredients, add the dashi.
  2. Add the sliced onions. Bring to a boil on med-high heat, cover and let cook about four minutes.
  3. Uncover and add the chicken. Cover and cook for two minutes. (Note: Chicken breast cooks quickly, so you need a short cooking time or it will be dry.)
  4. Turn down the heat to low and add the egg whites. Cover and cook until they cooked to your liking. (Note: Typically the dish is served with the egg undercooked, but tastes vary, so cook to the degree you like.)
  5. Pour the sauce over a bowl of rice and top with the chicken and egg mixture.
  6. Garnish the green vegetable, and/or sansho.
5 Likes

Thank you for this!

1 Like

I like oyakodon and pretty much any rice bowl. Not impressed with the video. Some food safety concerns, form over function, two to three times the amount of clean-up necessary, poor knife skills, and don’t seem to be very good with chop sticks.

The recipe looks okay - nothing terribly unique.

What is advantage of using Oyakodon pan than a normal pan with cover?

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No snark intended but does one really need a recipe for a simple comfort food dish like Oyakodon?

I’d say the same thing for things like Loco Moco or PB&J, Mac and Cheese, nachos, etc.

2 Likes

I’m not sure if I agree or not. Oyakodon is essentially poached chicken over rice. Mac & cheese is roux (w/ onions for me) > bechamel > Mornay > pasta > accouterments > bake. Is mac & cheese fundamentally a recipe or a technique?

Serving size. Also, it’s aluminum, so great heat conductivity.

If you’ve never heard of it, you do.

Personally, I think it it as a technique: poaching x with egg in some liquid and serving it over rice.

3 Likes

You’re welcome.

Well, thanks for your opinion.

Thank you for sharing this. I think it was very relaxing to watch, and despite my considering myself a fairly experienced home cook, I do appreciate at least watching how things are cooked once so I can get a feel for the sequence and how ingredients should look and feel at each stage.

I love oyakodon, but have to say that my own attempts at trying to make this have only been so-so, so I’ve never made it much since. Never quite recaptured the deliciousness of having this in Japan. I’m now inspired again to give this another try. Personally I think this is what good cooking videos should be about – it’s not just modeling “professional techniques” (which if you can, all the power to you!). I think it’s giving folks a feel for the dish and the feeling that you can try this at home too.

5 Likes

Yes.

2 Likes

Thank you for the kind comment. :slight_smile:

Thank you for the recipe! I’ve not watched the video, so these questions might be addressed there, but:

Are there alternative proteins for vegetarians that you would recommend for this, even if not traditional?

Also, as a dashi novice (yes, I realize it’s made with bonito flakes), what constitutes a “strong” dashi? Has it been reduced to concentrate flavor, or … ?

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In my opinion, Oyakodon is more about the technique than the dish, which is X poached in Y liquid and poured over rice. In that spirit, I’ve made many variations of this over the years with beef, chicken, vegetable, and mushroom stock with great success: Dashi is the way of the of the Japanese, but it doesn’t to be your way. :wink:

Now there is a standard Japanese version in which the chicken is swapped out for a whole onion. As an ovo-vegetarian, you could do that.

As for the dashi, you could use a powdered dashi and avoid the fish flakes. TBH, I don’t know how much of the umami in powdered dashi is from an animal or not, but dashi is always about umami and never about a fish taste.

Oh, and for strong dashi, I’m using 30 grams of both kombu and bonito (where the standard dashi is usually around 10 grams each.

Does any of that work for you?

The discussion of vocabulary has come up before on HO. I think–opinion–that if you don’t use dashi and chicken what you end up with is not oyakodon. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good. You could poach Portabello mushrooms in veg stock as a base with a mirepoix. You could add black beans (although I wouldn’t) and pour that over rice. It would make a great rice bowl but not oyakodon.

My computer keeps insisting I’m talking about oxycodone. sigh

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True enough. But if one is looking for a vegetarian option for Oyakodon, that’s the best advice I can give.

I’ve had this kind of discussion about vegan/vegetarian foods before and I don’t there’s a correct answer. Vegan Cheese, Vegan Chicken, etc.

True. The courts haven’t agreed either. There have been a lot of people/businesses that get bent out of shape about what “cheese” or “chicken” means. I don’t suggest that my opinion is truth (although “cheese” without cream or “chicken” without chicken makes my head hurt). I understand the desire to communicate what something vegan or vegetarian (or gluten free or salt free or non fat or …) is based on. On the other hand where the heck is the mushroom in my mushroom risotto? Vocabulary IS important.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold