“Oyakodon” avoids asking the question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” and just gives you both! Chicken and egg, gently cooked separately, then softly mixed together, are served in a bowl on top of white rice. “Oyakodon” literally means “parent and child rice bowl,” which is quite a clever name for the dish when you think about it!
Filial piety starts with taking bite-sized boneless chicken pieces (preferably dark meat) and gently simmering them in a broth made of soy sauce, sake, and Japanese sweet rice wine. Once the chicken is no longer pink, thinly sliced onion is added too. To the mixture, a lightly beaten egg or two is added for a final minute of so, just so the egg is barely cooked. This chicken and egg mix is then placed on a waiting bowl of rice and garnished with a leafy green.
What oyakodon should not be a firmly cooked omelet. The eggs should still be just on the runny side of being done, because there’s just no place for overcooked eggs in Japanese cuisine. Many chefs choose to cook the majority of the egg in the chicken and onion mix, then adding just a final bit of raw scrambled egg at the very end, letting the residual heat of the chicken sauté as well as the heat from the hot rice finish up the cooking process, but just barely.
What oyakodon should be is juicy bits of boneless chicken thigh, draped in barely clingy scrambled egg, with sweet onion and a bit of liquid-absorbing white rice all in each heavenly bite. The soy sauce and rice wine flavors should effortlessly enrobe the chicken and egg mix without being even the least bit overbearing. Because when all’s said and done, not being overbearing is the best thing for a parent-child relationship!
Looking to try oyakodon in Tokyo?
Japan Gourmetpedia recommends using our sister site, Tokyo Dinner Ticket, to find the perfect restaurant.