Friday, 8 June 2012

Blessed with eggs

When I started composing this post a few days ago I really was feeling blessed. Now is normally the time when shortening days stop chooks laying in their tracks. I was feeling secretly smug that for the second year running it looked as though Boss was going to keep popping out eggs right through the winter. Sadly I think Boss laid her last egg  for the season on the first day of winter. Barnevelders have a reputation as good winter layers so I hope it won't be a long wait. In the meantime this post is good excuse to marvel at these perfect brown speckled beauties and to share my interpretation of a Japanese favourite 'Oyakodon' (chicken and egg rice bowl).

Oyakodon and other versions of 'donburi' (rice bowls) are a staple of reasonably priced Japanese cafes and lunch spots wherever you go and I will rank a Japanese eatery purely on the basis of their 'donmono'. A perfect donburi needs the right blend of sweet and soy (caramel sauce is a definite no), the way the sauce blends with the egg, and the egg cooked to perfection (not overcooked and not raw, the perfect donburi egg should break the yolk to slightly combine with white and be served so its still slightly transparent).

Depending on where you go - you might have the bonus of a few slithers of green beans, snow peas or beni shoga (ginger).

You can find different versions of the recipe in any Japanese cook book. This is my version which I adapted from a demonstration by the Ikeura family, when I was living in Wakayama more than 15 years ago.

(serves 2)

Wash 1.5 cups of short grain rice and place in rice cooker. Note: You can use 'koshi hikari' or sushi rice - but along with many Japanese living here in Aust,  I use Sunrice Calrose (red packet) for my everyday Japanese cooking

Mix the following in graduated measuring cup:
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce (Japanese soy is available but regular 'made in Singapore' Kikkoman sauce is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon Japanese mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Japanese cooking sake (Ryorishuu)
  • After dissolving the sugar in the other ingredients, fill up to the 1/2 cup mark with Japanese 'tsuyu' (it's a kind of a soup base)- I use the brand below but there are various versions.
  • Add 1/2 cup water. (so you have a full cup of sauce)
Prepare the following:
  • chop a chicken thigh fillet (into small bite sized pieces)
  • thinly slice 1/2 an onion
  • thinly julienne a handful of green beans or snow peas (whichever is growing the garden) note: you can also substitute with frozen peas or a mix

When the rice is done- serve into 2 deep bowls
Cook the chicken in a small skillet. Top the rice with chicken.
Next fry the onion - when slightly brown remove half the onion and set aside.

Next, turn the stove to low heat and pour in half the sauce. Break an egg into the sauce (gently breaking the yolk), add the green beans/ peas around the edge of the pan. Bring the sauce mix to a slow simmer.

Continue the simmering until the egg is three quarters cooked but still slightly transparent on the top. Remove the egg from the heat and place on top of the chicken - pour the hot sauce over the egg to continue finish off the egg's cooking process. Repeat by adding the remaining ingredients (onion, another egg, sauce and greens) to the skillet.

Itadakimasu! lets eat.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yum, I don't know much about Japanese cooking but when i try something I usually liek it so i will definitely give this a go.