Monday, May 18, 2009
I've always had a soft spot for Japanese cuisine - it's healthy, uses wonderfully fresh ingredients and is bursting with flavor and color. I think it all started when I tasted sushi for the first time in high school. I remember trying to get my parents to appreciate it as much as I did, with little success. My mom is happy with a chirashi at lunch sometimes now (she really likes raw salmon) but I never got them to appreciate much else. I guess there's something about raw fish that doesn't appeal to everyone - much like my love for beef tartare that has given me some strange looks in the past in North America. But my sushi journey continued nontheless - from soft shell crab sushi rolls a couple years ago in Sydney to scallop sashimi from one of my favorite sushi restaurants in Montreal. Good sushi is expensive though, that's a given. A lot of sushi places in Canada try to sell you on the cheaper stuff, but I really don't like it. The cream cheese and sun-dried tomato sushi I've seen is just not my thing... neither is most of the mayonnaise-based rolls with very little fish. So, it turns out that I have been spending more than advised on really good sushi.
Ordering Oyako Don is a great option for those times when you can't spend too much on sushi rolls. You can indulge on a few pieces of sushi as an appetizer, and get a comforting bowl of Japanese rice with sweet mirin-licked onions, tender chicken and egg. The taste of this dish is so very unique - it's sweet and salty, with layers of flavor coming from dashi stock, soy sauce and mirin. It's really, really delicious. Oliver and I tried to make it at home a few times, and I think we've come pretty close to what we get at the restaurant. And the best part? It's ready in 20 minutes (I guess that sounds a little Rachel-Ray like, but you get the point).
Oyako Don (serves 4)
2 cups of sushi rice, cooked
1 white onion, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup of dashi stock
2 teaspoons of mirin
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 pinch of brown sugar
4 chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
2 green onions, sliced
3 eggs, beaten
Heat a little vegetable oil in pan on medium heat and add the onions. Add the dashi, mirin, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add the chicken. Cover and cook for 7-8 minutes - stirring a few times. Add the green onions and stir. Pour the beaten eggs over the chicken and onion mixture in an even layer. Cover and cook until the egg is just set.
Serve over Japanese rice. Enjoy!