But today's not about cranberries...Come on, let's do the funky chicken!
"Oyako" in Japanese means "parent-child", which is completely appropriate for this traditional Japanese home-cooked dish with chicken and eggs. (Which came first?) "Donburi" just means bowl and is used for any hot meal that's served over rice in a bowl. This recipe came to me on a convoluted route: I got the More With Less cookbook for my American wedding (we had one in the US and one in the UK for all of our peeps to be able to join in), the recipe in the American cookbook is from Obihiro, Japan (a city on Hokkaido - the big island north of the main island), and I brought my precious cookbook with me when we moved here to Japan in 2001. I have served this dish to my former Japanese sensei (and one of my Japanese adopted mothers), and she said it was "perfect". My little yummy bean, Matthew, thinks so, too, and this is the only way I can get him to consume spinach (and it's not even hidden).
Here's the little bean himself, helping Mama wash some dirt off (him or the spinach?)...
And if you think my Japanese kitchen is small, you ain't seen nuthin'! This is gihugic compared to some of my friends' kitchens here, and at least mine has a door and isn't in the living room (seriously).
OK, everybody wash hands and let's get down to this cookin' business.
- 1/2 lb. raw chicken (I use two breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 5 eggs (yes, really)
- enough flour for dusting the chicken
- 1 c. water
- 3 dried mushrooms, diced finely (I just grab a handful of pre-sliced dried shiitake shrooms and chop them even tinier - Matthew doesn't usually like mushrooms but he gulped them down in this!)
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. soy sauce (I use dark)
- 2 scallions, cut diagonally, or one sliced onion
- 2 c. chopped fresh spinach (sometimes I use frozen if I don't have fresh and I'm really craving this meal RIGHT NOW)
- chopped parsley for garnishing
- cooked rice for 4 people (I do mine in my rice cooker and add a pack of multigrains before cooking)
You and your yummy do this:
Oyako (parent and child) - Measure the ingredients and have them sitting and ready. Wash the chopped spinach and have that draining in a colander.
Oya (parent) - Cut the chicken into little pieces if it's not already chopped. I remove all skin, too. (Not my thing.) Combine the mushrooms and water in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes, then leave to sit in the water for a few minutes while you get on with the rest of the steps.
Ko (child) - Ask your mama or daddy to help you beat the 5 eggs in a bowl. Matthew's darn good at that - he gets a lot of practice round here.
Oyako - Dust the chicken with flour and dip in the beaten egg (reserving the extra eggs).
Oya - Fry the chicken in a big skillet in oil till brown. Add the mushrooms with liquid, sugar, and soy sauce to the chicken in the pan and simmer 15 minutes. Then add the chopped onion or scallions and simmer 10 more minutes. Add the spinach and while it's still bright green, add those reserved beaten eggs to the skillet and cover it. Cook only until it's set (nobody's worried about salmonella over here and raw eggs are consumed at a high rate - if you're stateside and concerned about that, cook it until you feel it's ready), add some rice to individual bowls, and ladle some oyako donburi into each bowl.
Ko - Scatter some chopped parsley over each serving to garnish. Then enjoy with your Oya and don't forget to mention how "nummy" it is! Or if you want to sound Japanese, say "Oishii!"