by Bryce Marley
Today on the menu, Japlanning are looking at Donburi. Donburi comes in many variations and forms, which you will recognise. These delicious bowls are a great Japanese meal and usually available around the clock in most major Japanese cities.
Donburi, which translates to the word "bowl" really does explain this dish. It is a Japanese rice bowl dish, which will consist of a meat part, be it pork, chicken or fish, vegetables, and other ingredients cooked together and served over rice.
It is a staple in Japan, with many quick service tiny restaurants littered across cities serving all varieties of Donburi, often twenty-four hours a day. These are the type of eateries that usually have you ordering via a ticket vending machine, for payment as well, then you take the ticket to the chef and wait for the bowl of delicious flavour.
Most dishes will come with a sauce on it, this sauce can vary depending on the type of Donburi, the season, ingredients, and region. The most common sauce consists of a dashi flavoured with soy sauce and mirin.
In Japanese homes, Donburi is usually made up of whatever ingredients are in the house, with leftovers being a key ingredient for a quick throw together meal in a household.
Lets take a look at the most common varieties of Donburi that you will come across, both in Japanese eateries at home as well as all over Japan.
Gyudon - This is the most popular Donburi dish you will find in Japan with fast food chains, like Yoshinoya serving it all over the country. It consists of beef and onion served over rice. The beef is cooked in a sauce that gives it a salty/sweet flavour.
Katsudon - This is a close follow up in popularity behind Gyudon. The rice bowl is served with tonkatsu (deep fried breadcrumbed pork cutlet) egg and onions with a Tonkatsu sauce.
Oyakodon - This dish has two main ingredients chicken and egg cooked together and served over rice.
Unadon - This Donburi is the rice bowl as standard, with grilled eel, that is cooked in a think soya based sauce, on top.
Tendon - The last one will look at is the Donburi that is rice with pieces of seafood and vegetables tempura prepared, then dipped in a sauce, served on top.
Now their are many, many more varieties of Donburi in Japan, be sure to check out the plastic models of them in many Donburi eatery's windows.
Now lets get into the Japlanning kitchen and get cooking one of the more common Donburi, Katsudon!
You will need:
- 7 Cups of steamed rice (sushi/Japanese rice works best)
- 1 litre vegetable oil
- 4 boneless pork chops (pounded thin)
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 bottle tonkatsu sauce (Daiso sells this, or a Japanese grocery!)
- 1 cup of dashi
- 6 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons of sugar
- 4 tablespoons of mirin
- 3-4 beaten eggs
- Heat vegetable oil 1-inch deep in frying pan or wok to 340F or until a few breadcrumbs dropped into the middle of the oil surface immediately.
- Trim off fat from the pork and pound it to make it thin.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Dust first with flour, then dip into the beaten egg, then the panko crumbs.
- Fry in the oil until light brown--about 4 minutes/side.
- Drain on paper towels and then cut into 1" strips.
- Mix the broth ingredients together in a bowl.
- Then heat 1/4 of the broth in a separate skillet, bringing it just to a boil.
- Add the slices of 1 pork cutlet and cook one minute.
- When the broth has fully coated the cutlet, pour one portion of the beaten eggs into the skillet and stir.
- Place one serving of rice into a deep bowl, then remove the cutlet and egg mixture from the skillet and place over the rice.
The full recipe and more Donburi recipes can be found here to try at home!
Donburi is a great meal, full of flavour and with so many varieties you can always try something new, or just keep to a classic you love! When in Japan its a great tasty meal that will never break the budget too, so keep your eye out for them, especially in night districts and train stations!