Guest Author - Chidori Phillips
My mother often made Oyako Donburi for us. We couldnít understand her disappointment when we told her we didnít care for it. She, no doubt, thought that on some spiritual level, we were rejecting her since this dish represents the mother-child relationship. Not true at all. Turns out that we did not care for the aroma and taste of the bamboo shoots she put in it. She loved them and put in too many! Now that our adult taste buds have evolved, we appreciate this savory dish where tender chicken breasts nestle in a broth made with gently coddled egg.
I love Oyako Donburi today. Warm, comforting and simple to prepare. And perhaps there is something to its symbolic representation of the mother-child relationship because I am privileged with a wonderful relationship with my own mother who raised four daughters with a lot of long-suffering and self-sacrifice. It wasn't until I became a mother until I realized all she did for us. It is amazing she still has all her marbles at her age (she will kill me for printing her age and she is spry enough to chase me down, too!)
Here is the version of her Oyako Donburi that is traditional and then hers that has lots of vegetables in it:
steamed white rice
2 Tbsp. butter
2 chicken breasts, sliced in matchsticks
2-1/2 cups chicken broth or dashi*
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. mirin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 green onions, sliced thinly
In a skillet, melt butter and saute chicken slightly. Pour in chicken broth and simmer until chicken is done (about three minutes). Blend in soy sauce, sugar, salt and mirin. In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Pour scrambled eggs over the chicken mixture. Allow to mixture to coddle over low heat without stirring.
To serve, place hot rice into donburi (deep bowls). Carefully, ladle the cooked chicken-egg mixture over the rice, including the sauce. Garnish with sliced green onions and nori strips. Cover the donburi with the lid. Serve hot. Makes four servings.
Lillian Nakayama's Oyako Donburi
Same ingredients as above, except julienne the following vegetables and simmer them with in the broth before adding to the chicken pieces:
1 small bamboo shoot, canned
1/2 small block Konnyaku
4 Shiitake mushrooms (if dried, soak in water for 1 hour or until plump and then squeeze before slicing)
3 large leaves nappa cabbage
Slice all the vegetables and simmer in the broth until tender crisp. Add this to the skillet of buttery cooked chicken, then follow the above recipe as stated.
*Using chicken broth versus dashi will result in very different flavors. Try both to see which you prefer. I like both.