Mirin Makes All the Difference with Oyakodon

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Oyakodon (親子丼), which means “parent-and-child donburi” in Japanese, is a rice bowl dish topped with boneless chicken, egg, and scallions.  It is one of Japan’s favorite comfort foods. In my numerous attempts to recreate a Japanese dish such as oyakodon, I often used to wonder why I keep missing that special sweet taste. I used the best soy sauce, added a bit of sugar, and dashi. But that distinct sweetness still eluded me. When I was taught how to cook some traditional dishes by my Japanese boss’ aunt, I was amazed to find out that mirin was the secret!

Oyakodon. | miyagawa

Mirin (味醂 ) is an important ingredient in most Japanese dishes. It is a type of rice wine that consists of 40% to 50% sugar. It is similar to sake, only sweeter and with a lower alcohol content.

Here is a simple recipe for oyakodon that you can try.

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Ingredients

Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 t grated ginger
½ c flour
1 c Japanese breadcrumbs (Panko)
½ c Vegetable oil

Sauce:
1/4 c soy sauce
3 T Mirin
2 c water
A pinch of dashi
3 T Brown sugar
5 eggs

Thinly sliced leeks for topping

Mirin. | Lec

Directions

Wash the chicken breasts and pat dry. Season with salt, pepper, and grated ginger.  Coat the chicken breasts lightly with flour. Beat one egg in a bowl and mix in about a tablespoon of water. Dip the chicken breast in the egg mixture then coat it with the Japanese bread crumbs.  Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick pan in medium heat. Fry the chicken breasts until golden brown. Drain off any excess oil.

Combine the soy sauce, mirin, dashi, water, and sugar in a saucepot. Let the ingredients simmer for 10 to 15 minutes in low heat until the alcohol in the mirin evaporates and the sauce reduces.

Cut each chicken breast into strips. Place one cut up chicken breast in a small non-stick pan. Pour in half a cup of the prepared sauce and allow it to boil in medium heat. Break an egg in a bowl and beat. Pour it on top of the chicken and sauce, top it with some leeks, and cover for a minute or two until the egg is cooked.

Place cooked rice in a bowl, then slide in the chicken, sauce, and egg on top. Repeat the procedure for the other breasts. And there you have it: delicious oyakodon. Enjoy!

Aiming for a balance in taste.

Recently, the KCP Winter term cooking class, together with Hosei University students,  had a chance to make tasty oyakodon. For more photos, visit our KCP Cooking Class Photo Set.