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Japanese chicken donburi recipe

Japanese chicken egg rice bowl recipe

The ever-popular oya-ko donburi can be translated directly as ‘parent-child rice bowl’–a little grotesque in English. But its balance of sweet and salty, its simplicity, and its healthy ingredients make it a perennial favorite in Japan. The skills you’ll learn in this recipe–making Japanese dashi broth from scratch, seasoning with soy sauce–will open many new recipes to you as well. Give it a try, and I bet you’ll end up making it over and over!

Makes 2 rice bowls

Water 1 cup
Kelp 1 piece
Dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) 5 grams (small handful)
Chicken 150 grams
Sake 2 T
1 onion
Soy sauce 3 T
Mirin 2 t
Sugar 4 t
Mitsuba (2 bunches) or green onion (12 inches)
2 eggs
2 bowls of rice (use good rice for a better result)

Recipe for kelp/bonito (kombu/katsuobushi) broth

Put the kelp in cold water and turn on medium or high heat. Remove the kelp before the water boils. Bring the water to a boil, add the bonito flakes all at once, and turn off the heat. Do not stir or disturb the bonito flakes, even to push them underwater. They will sink naturally, and moving them around will release bitter flavor into the broth.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Making the rest of the dish

Pour the sake over the chicken and season with black pepper if desired.  Slice the onion. Mix the soy, mirin, and sugar. Wash and slice the green onions or mitsuba into 1-inch lengths. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly.

Pour the broth through a sieve lined with a couple paper towels. Again, let it strain naturally; don’t touch it. In a few minutes when it’s all through, you can very lightly squeeze it, but doing so with any pressure will release unwanted flavors. (You can squeeze the excess water out in the sink and use the left over bonito to make an excellent rice topping called tsukudani.)

Pour your broth in a skillet or 10-inch pan and bring to a light boil. Reduce to medium heat, add the onion slices. In one minute add the chicken (with the seasoning sake), pour the soy sauce mix in, give it a quick stir, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.

Now add the mitsuba or green onion. If you’re using green onion, simmer a little until it’s done to your liking before continuing; if you’re using mitsuba, go to the next step immediately.

Add the egg using two chopsticks held against the side of the bowl to guide the egg as you pour.  Pour slowly–you should be able to make two full circles around your pan as you drizzle it in. Don’t stir! Turn off the heat when the egg is half cooked and let it sit for another minute.

Scoop onto a bowl of rice and enjoy! You can use ichimi or shichimi seasonings on top for spice. Spicy sesame oil or other hot sauces can also be used for Chinese or ‘fusion’ variations.

May I suggest doubling the broth recipe to make some miso soup?

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Wakayama neighborhood destroyed by typhoon to hold dissolution ceremony

This article appeared in the paper on Friday, October 14th. Here’s a rough translation.

http://www.agara.co.jp/modules/dailynews/article.php?storyid=219367

As a result of the severe damage inflicted by typhoon #12, Okubanchi-ku, part of Hongu in Wakayama Prefecture, will hold a dissolution ceremony at its last neighborhood festival on November 5th. The 10 residents of the Ku have restarted their lives in other parts of Hongu, and thus will draw an end to the neighborhood of Okubanchi.

Okubanchi is the furthest neighborhood toward the mountains from Fushiigami; after crossing the Mikoshi River it’s a five minute drive up. Eight households live quietly, as if they surrounded a temple. The pure river there is known for ayu and amago sweetfish, drawing fishermen from many parts of the country.

The heavy rains of typhoon #12 set off a landslide 300 meters tall and 200 meters wide in the southern part of the neighborhood. Cut off by the slide, the river changed course and cut through the neighborhood. When the river subsided, all that was left of the temple, community center, and two households was a new valley.

The residents spent a few days at Hongu Junior High School, the evacuation center, and then moved in with family members or into vacant homes in the area. Yoshinori Nomoto (84) and his wife Mikiko (75) are living in Mikiko’s parents’ vacant house. They fled without any belongings, so Yoshinori walked back over the blocked road, crossed the valley, and recovered some of his valuables, including his mother’s ring and the family altar, from his mostly-crushed house. Not long thereafter, his house was fully destroyed by the next typhoon, #15.

“I knew Okuban was finished” when the landslide happened, says Mikiko. When her children visited from a different prefecture, they were at a loss for words but knew their parents had to move out. From December Yoshinori and Mikiko will be living in an apartment near Mikiko’s oldest daughter in nearby Nara Prefecture.

November 3rd is the official date of the annual festival at the Okubanku shrine. Knowing it’s the last one, the neighborhood residents are planning a grand sendoff. The neighborhood address records were washed away in the flood, so residents must rely on word of mouth to inform each other of the plans. The ceremonies have been planned for the 5th, a weekend day.

“It’s a small neighborhood and everyone’s friends. If we had young people living here we could get things going again, but we don’t have the power,” says Yoshinori, covering his eyes. “Because of this typhoon damage I was reminded of the kindness of people of Hongu. People are very good to us where we are staying now, and I wish I could continue our relationship with them here.”

Under the only house left unscathed by the flood and landslides is a taro patch. Mikiko has been growing them. “When it gets close to the festival I’ll dig them up. We might have a hundred people come,” she says. She’s looking forward to serving stewed taro to all of the guests at the dissolution ceremony.

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