Oyako Donburi – Eating a Mother and Child and Laughing out Loud

by Jacqueline Church on September 4, 2012 · 4 comments

If you lived near me, you might find odd smells (usually good ones) wafting out into the hallway. You migtht sometimes hear me talking to the cats, or to myself, or occasionally laughing. Today, I did all three.

Oyako donburi The not so photogenic, but oh-so delicious, lunch.

Oyako Donburi

I got it in my head that I had to have Oyako Donburi for lunch. Oyako Donburi is a Japanese comfort food that takes rice, chicken and egg and makes a meal of these humble ingredients. When we were kids, I laughed at the odd name – “mother and child” and also thought it was a little weird in its implications. I am to enjoy consuming a mother and her infant? What? Okay, well chicken and egg, but “ko” is “child” so it’s odd. It just is.

Today I realized I had poached two chicken breasts yesterday and they sat in their poaching liquid in the fridge. I have eggs again, thanks to the modern miracle of refrigeration, and I also had two bowls of leftover rice. I also had two egg whites awaiting my next stock/raft opportunity. The plan was hatched. Sorry.

So what does crazy hapa* girl do?

First, I clarify the poaching liquid with egg whites, creating a raft with with a little very nice white wine vinegar, dropping in a squeeze of tomato paste and a few Madagascar peppercorns and a slice of ginger.

Then, I sautéed about a quarter of an onion with peanut oil (no sesame, damn!) sugar, soy sauce and gomashio (sesame salt blend to which I add flax seed). Next, I added a sliced scallion, deglaze the pan with some of the now-clarified stock, shred some of the poached chicken breast, mix two eggs with some dashi-soy I got from a Japanese vendor at a food show, (great stuff not yet available here).

I heated up the rice in a large bowl, then decided it didn’t look like enough, added more rice, reheated, added eggs and stock to pan, swirled and shook to set in a custardy omelet that went over the hot rice with more of the consomme.

As I’m burning my tongue on the lunch (patience has never been – probably never will be, my strong suit), I look up at the kitchen. It really looks as if I’d just cooked for an army the dishes are piled to overflowing in the sink. And I laugh out loud.

For this one sort of leftover-ish lunch I have dirtied:

  • one pan (for the onions, eggs),
  • one pot (for clarifying stock),
  • one whisk (for stock),
  • one small prep bowl (eggs),
  • one 4 C measuring cup (for stock, after clarified),
  • one fine mesh sieve (for straining raft),
  • one square of muslin cheesecloth (ditto),
  • one pair of chopsticks (mixing eggs),
  • one knife (slicing ginger, onions),
  • one cutting board (ditto),
  • and the large square food storage container that previously held the broth and the chicken breasts, is in there, too.

 

But, I now have clarified and enriched stock for the fridge/freezer, and enough rice for jook/congee tomorrow. I had the eyes-too-big problem and realize only at the end of lunch that the original bowl of rice would certainly have sufficed. Lesson learned. (Maybe.)

I’m happy, well-fed, and can do these dishes with a nice cup of tea while I digest the meal and plan the afternoon.

Still beats a cold sandwich any day. Apologies to that family I just ate.

Itadakimasu.

 

*hapa – is “half” in pigeon English. In Hawai’i I came to identify myself as hapa. Made sense and just stuck.

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