Weeknight CookingWhat to CookChickenJapanese CookingDinner, FasterComfort Food

This Bowl of Japanese Comfort Food Can Be On Your Table in 20

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Chicken: check. Eggs: check. Rice: check. Salty, savory, slurp-worthy sauce: check. On the table in less than twenty minutes: check! All clear for a weeknight dinner worthy of a regular spot in the rotation.

A popular Japanese dish, both in restaurants and homes, oyako don (spelled elsewhere as one word, oyakodon) translates to "parent and child rice bowl," a reference to the two main ingredients, chicken and egg.

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...But which came first? No, no, no, that's not what this is about!

Back to the food: With an ingredient list you can count on two hands (or, with a well-stocked pantry, two fingers), you'll have a bowl of chicken-y goodness you before that Podcast you just put on is even over.

Oyako Don
Oyako Don

A few notes:

  • This recipe (an early-years Food52 favorite!) serves two and has you cook in batches—one bowl, then the next—so that you can customize and season to your liking, but you can also go ahead and cook everything together in one pot.
  • If you can't find mirin, our weeknight-dinner-expert-of-yore Jenny used sherry with success. ("If you’re going to make this and have time to plan ahead, however," she says, "get the Mirin.")
  • Garnish with chopped scallions or chives, if you like.
  • And for added richness, J. Kenji López-Alt says you can use 4 eggs, reserving 2 of the yolks. Add one yolk to each plated bowl right before you dig in.
How to Separate Eggs, 2 Ways

How to Separate Eggs, 2 Ways by Brette Warshaw

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A Pot Designed to Make Perfectly Cooked Rice—That Actually Does

A Pot Designed to Make Perfectly Cooked Rice—That Actuall... by Amanda Sims

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Now here's the plan:

Pick up the following from the grocery store:

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  • 2 chicken thighs (you can also use breasts, but the flavor won't be as poultry-prominent)
  • 4 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin (sweet cooking sake)
  • White or brown rice (if you won't have time to cook rice, you can even find frozen, cooked rice at some stores: bingo!)

That list is assuming you have: 1 onion, 3 eggs, sugar, and soy sauce. If you don't add those to your list.

About 20 minutes before you want to eat, start cooking your rice. Next, cut the chicken thighs (or breasts) into bite-sized pieces. Peel 1 onion and slice it thinly. Beat together 3 eggs. In a small bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of chicken stock, with 2 tablespoons each of sake, sugar, and mirin. Add 5 tablespoons of soy sauce and you're onto the cooking part.

Now you're 10 minutes away! (Here's the point where you can split up the ingredients and make the portions one at a time or cook both servings at once.) Pour the chicken stock mixture into a small pan and bring it to a boil. Then add the chicken and the onion slices and simmer until the meat is cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Then add beaten eggs, cover the pan, and simmer until the eggs are cooked but still soft, 40 seconds-ish.

Scoop rice into two bowls. Top with chicken and egg mixture. Spoon directly into mouth.

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Oyako Don

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Serves 2
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 1 onion
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin (sweet cooking sake)
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cups cooked rice
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But seriously: Which came first?! Say "chicken" or "egg" in the comments below!