22 March 2010

Hot Mother-Daughter Action

After an overdose of my Iranian half of culinary heritage for Norooz, it was time to balance it all out by engaging in some Japanese debauchery. No, not anime featuring demon tentacles, uniformed school girls, and odd forms of penetration. We're simply not into that hentai stuff. But my other ethnic half's perversion doesn't end with used panty vending machines.

In fact, everyday Japanese weirdness isn't so much perversion, but an almost innocent frankness that turns out to be – like all things Japanese – very cute. Naming foods, for example, is subject to this cute-ification. Take the dish known as shirako for example. That would be fish milt. Milt is sperm. Shira is a prefix meaning white. Ko is a suffix meaning child. Sperm is white, and makes children. Hence...

Alas, there will be no eating of sperm this episode. Instead, we're talking about oyako donburi. So donburi is the common term for rice bowl (as in a bowl of rice with food on it, not unlike a teriyaki bowl). You just learned that ko means child. Oya? That means parent. Parent-child rice bowl.

Obviously, this is more of a metaphorical description of the dish. But it's not far from literal. The primary components of oyako donburi are the chicken and the egg.  We're not going to argue over who comes first. (Who cares as long as both do?)  We're going to tell you how this deliciously morbid-sounding familial dish is done.

To top each bowl of steamed Japanese rice (please don't use jasmine rice or Uncle Ben's - that only hurts me), you will need a chicken breast, 2 eggs, half a sweet onion (or three green onions), and a cup of sauce. The cup of sauce is comprised of 180 ml (1 cup) dashi (bonito stock, look it up), 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce and sugar.  Those are your ratios, and the only ingredients you actually need.

Heat up a skillet and pour in your cup of sauce.  Toss in the chicken breast, cut into thin strips manageable enough for chopsticks, not unlike a stir-fry.  Let the chicken simmer in the sauce 5-7 minutes over medium heat, then add your onions. After a few more minutes, when your onions have started to soften, pour in your slightly beaten eggs over the top of the chicken-onion-sauce concoction. Do not mix.

Scoop your hot, steaming rice into your bowls, and while the eggs are still runny (but not totally raw, eww!) use a large serving spoon to ladle it out on top of your rice. Optionally, before scooping it out, you can sprinkle it with strips of yakinori (roasted seaweed in sheet form, like what's wrapped around sushi rolls).

Serve while piping hot. The egg will continue to cook and will be ready by the time you get it to the table. For a touch of color, I added a garnish of aonori (green seaweed flakes), but some argue that over-garnishing a donburi will detract from its purity of flavor.

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