We got back into Perth a couple of days ago after two weeks of basking in the Californian sunshine so the crispness of the early morning was a rude shock to the system. It’s well and truly winter here isn’t it? I guess the days aren’t so bad but hanging wet laundry out at 7am wasn’t a terribly pleasant experience. I look forward to my body clock normalising soon. Getting up at 5am in winter isn’t right.
I’m actually quite fond of winter much to my hubby’s dismay. He would have us living in the perpetual summer of Queensland if it were up to him. I however enjoy rugging up and staying warm via cups of delicious hot chocolate and other winter delights.
Preparing food for the family is easier in winter too with one-pot wonders such as osso bucco and lamb shanks. Another favourite is a wonderful Japanese chicken and egg rice bowl dish called Oyakodon, which literally means parent and child rice bowl. Let’s stick with chicken and egg rice bowl…
This dish is very warming and quite easy to prepare and cook. Best of all for me, the whole family enjoys eating this so I have dubbed Oyakodon the Shepherd’s Pie of the east :) The flavours are quite subtle and nutritionally, you can’t go wrong here.
There’s not much you have to specifically go out shopping for as long as your pantry has a number of key Japanese cooking ingredients such as soy sauce, mirin and cooking sake. You do need to have some Japanese cooking stock (dashi) handy but at a push you can use vegetable stock or plain water.
The only other ingredients you must have is some chicken thigh (breast is fine too if that’s all you have), eggs and a brown onion. For a touch of colour, a few alfalfa sprouts should sit on top of the rice bowl before serving but I don’t often have sprouts in the fridge so my rice bowl ends up looking drab (but still mucho tasty, IMHO).
If you are not a fan of undercooked egg then please keep an eye on the cooking process a little more towards the end. The egg mixture will keep cooking through once sitting on a hot bowl of rice so unless you actually enjoy dried out egg, stop cooking once the eggs are at a point where you could tolerate some runniness. More than likely it won’t be runny at all by the time you’re ready to eat. If you do enjoy runny eggs then you can probably serve it up after its first initial steaming period with the pan lid on. The photo below shows a more over-cooked version of Oyakodon but as I’m the only one who likes it runny in our family, that’s how it goes :|
Oyakodon isn’t something you’ll find at all Japanese restaurants as it is considered more of a homestyle dish but given how easy it is, it’s worth giving it a go at home. Leftovers are pretty good too :) Enjoy a nice Asahi Super Dry with this one!
Oyakodon (to serve 3-4 people)
400g chicken thigh meat or breast if preferred
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking sake
4-5 eggs beaten with fork lightly
one brown onion, cut into thin slices (I use a mandolin)
3/4 cup of dashi (or vegetable stock)
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp cooking sake
1 tbsp sugar
Enough white rice to serve up into medium sized bowls and alfalfa sprouts to garnish.
To make: Dice chicken into bite-size pieces and marinate in the 1 tbsp each of soy and sake for 15 minutes. In a large frypan (with a lid, use a large baking tray if no lid available!), add dashi, soy, mirin, sake and sugar. Mix well and bring to a high simmer on medium heat. Add chicken pieces and cook through before reducing to gentle simmer. Add onions and cook until transparent. Add egg mixture to pan, covering the egg and onion evenly. Add lid to frypan and allow to cook through for two minutes or to liking. Once done, pile a generous amount on top of rice and serve with alfalfa garnish.