Oyakodon is a very popular donburi dish in Japan, which is a meal for which rice is filled into a bowl and then covered with other ingredients.

For this you need dashi, the basic broth of Japanese cuisine. There are variations with bonito flakes (katsuobushi), dried sardines (niboshi) and shiitake mushrooms for the vegan version. The simplest dashi is prepared using only seaweed, kombu.

Kombu is harvested in northern Japan, dried on the beach and then matured for up to five years before being used in the kitchen. The hard slabs of dried seaweed are now available almost everywhere and have a very long shelf life, they just need to be stored in an airtight container. There is a white powder on the surface that must not be washed off, as it contains the most intense flavour. Kombu should also never be cooked, as it then releases bitter substances.

To make oyakodon, a simple dashi is sufficient. To prepare it, heat each 1 litre of water with 25 – 30 g of kombu to around 60° Celsius and leave to infuse at this temperature for 30 – 60 minutes. Then remove the kombu and the dashi is ready. It can be frozen in portions, making it easy to stock up for quick meals.

However, you can also buy instant dashi in powder form in specialised shops and we used one of these today due to a lack of time.

We start with dashi, sake (rice wine), mirin (sweet rice wine), soy sauce (koikuchi shoyu) and sesame oil.

To understand the subtle and elegant flavours of Japanese cuisine, we recommend mixing all this together and then tasting it once. It has an incredibly varied and balanced flavour.

Onion is cut into not too fine strips of 3 – 4 mm, ginger is finely diced. The onion strips should be separated so that they cook more evenly.

Oyakodon always consists of chicken and egg, so there is no vegetarian or even vegan version. “Oya” means parent, “ko” means child and “don” is the bowl – chicken and egg in a bowl (on rice).

Chicken thigh meat should be used, the breast is less suitable. To do this, you have to trim the leg, i.e. remove the bone. This is not easy and anyone who has never done it before should be very, very careful with the knife. The internet is full of instructions, here is just one example.

Grand Master Jacques naturally de-bones the whole chicken.

The meat is cut with the skin on into bite-sized pieces of about 2 cm and delicately seasoned with salt and white pepper (preferably freshly ground).

These ingredients are then placed in a large pan, brought to the boil once and then cooked very gently over a medium heat for 20 minutes. This keeps the chicken tender. It is not seared. No lid is used, as the liquid should reduce a little.

The later garnish is finely chopped spring onions or alternatively chives cut into longer strips. We soak spring onions in cold water so that they lose a little of their raw sharpness.

Eggs are cracked into a bowl and slightly whisked, but a homogeneous structure is not desired here. Rather, the egg white and yolk should still be partially distinguishable later on.

The eggs are then poured over the entire surface of the pan and the temperature is set to the lowest level. The eggs should set gently in the hot liquid, but no longer be cooked and not become firm all over. Do not stir, if necessary only drag a cooking spoon through the pan once or twice to distribute the heat from the centre to the edges.

Now all that remains to be done is to serve. Prepared Japanese round grain rice, 80 g dry weight per person, is filled into bowls and generously covered with the contents of the pan. Garnish with spring onion or chives.


And may the taste be with you.

Ingredients ( for 2 people):

250 ml kombu dashi

50 ml sake

25 ml mirin

25 ml soy sauce

½ tbsp sesame oil

1 medium sized onion

20 g ginger

1 chicken leg, bones removed

Salt and white pepper

2 – 3 eggs, depending on size, taste and appetite

1 spring onion or ½ bunch of chives

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