Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oyako Donburi aka Egg on Rice

Last night I made oyako donburi or Chicken-'n-Egg on Rice. So far this has been one of my favorite dishes, but I was predisposed to enjoy it.

The history is that while I was a student at DU, I ate at Tokyo Joes.... a lot. It was a staple of my diet. Between them and the fledgling Chipotle, I didn't eat much else. My favorite dish at Tokyo Joes was their Oyako bowl. I couldn't figure out exactly what the taste was, but I loved it. Egg, chicken, rice, onions, with a hint of sweetness. I gobbled it up like the Bumpus's dogs eat turkey.

Once I left school, I wasn't near Tokyo Joes nearly as often, so it became a periodic craving for me. At three in the afternoon for no apparent reason my stomach would scream..."Oyako---NOW!" A few times I thought about trying to make it at home. In fact, before I met my wife and got hold of her copy of Japanese Cooking, I had a cookbook called "The Complete Asian Cookbook" by Charmaine Solomon, which had an Oyako recipe in it. I tried making it, but it didn't taste right.

Now that I have tried a different version of the dish, I have a comparison. The major differences are: dashi vs chicken stock as a base, and sugar vs mirin to sweeten the dish. Tsuji's version chose dashi and sugar. Solomon used chicken stock and mirin. In fact, Solomon recommended dry sherry as a substitute for mirin, which seems a bit off to me.

In any case, Tsuji's version was delicious and I think it might become a staple around our house.

On another note, I have to confess a little. I am working through Tsuji's cookbook and I have a growing admiration for him as an author, chef, and connisseur of great food. However, I've been a little unfaithful. I casually mentioned Solomon's "The Complete Asian Cookbook", but I've consulted her book a couple of times during the process so far.

For instance, she had this interesting tidbit about the dashiyaki tamago:

Japanese omelette pans are rectangular. If you can get one it will make your rolled omelettes easier to handle and neater in appearance, but a round pan can be used quite successfully.

And my was successful. Not "quite successful" but merely a regular level of successful. Her recipe was nearly identical to Tsuji's. She added a parsley garnish.

So now that I have confessed, I'll say three "hail Tsuji's" and we'll continue on our culinary adventure. I will continue to use Solomon's book a reference and I'll note when her explanation is helpful. But I won't feel guilty about it.... not any more!

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