"Oyakodon" (親子丼) is a humble, cheap and quick dish that is popular in homes and restaurants across Japan. Made with succulent chicken thigh, softened onions and silky egg served over Japanese rice, oyakodon is a comforting dish that you can easily make at home!
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What is oyakodon?
Oyakodon (親子丼) is a rice bowl dish made with pan fried chicken and light fluffy egg flavoured with dashi and Japanese condiments. The word "oyako" literally means "parent and child" and this usually refers to the chicken and the egg.
Other types of oyakodon
Chicken and egg is actually not the only kind of oyakodon! There is also a type of oyakodon made with salmon and ikura (salmon roe) too.
Funnily enough, if you make "oyakodon" with pork and egg (instead of chicken), it becomes "tanindon" (他人丼) which means "other people rice bowl". This name comes from the fact that pork and egg are not related. Interesting right?
A Brief History of Oyakodon
It is said that oyakodon came around in the Meiji period (1868-1912) or maybe even earlier! It is the second oldest donburi recipe, with gyuudon being the first.
Although it cannot be confirmed, it is believed that oyakodon originated either from Tokyo or Osaka and was created by topping leftover chicken stew with a raw egg and then serving it over rice.
However and wherever it was invented, this dish is very humble and quick to make. There's a good reason why it's so popular!
Oyakodon sauce (broth)
Oyakodon's sauce is predominantly based on dashi stock and other condiments such as soy sauce. In my recipe, I use following ingredients to make the sauce:
- Homemade awase dashi stock
- Soy sauce
- Light brown sugar
- Chicken stock powder
Oyakodon VS katsudon: what are the differences?
Oyakodon and katsudon are somewhat similar, but at the same time, completely different. Firstly, the sauce is actually extremely similar, you can even say the same. They are also drizzled with lightly whisked eggs at the end too.
You can see following similarities between these two dishes:
- Use of onion
- Use of eggs
However, the biggest difference is the meat you use for each dish. While oyakodon uses pan fried chicken thigh, katsudon uses Japanese deep fried pork cutlet.
But as you can see, other than that, there are a lot of similarities between these two.
What's the difference between donburi and oyakodon?
The easiest way to explain these differences between donburi and oyakodon is that the word "donburi" means "rice bowl" and refers to all Japanese rice bowl dishes. Oyakodon is just one example of a donburi dish. In other words, donburi isn't a name of one specific dish, but oyakodon is.
The word "don" comes from "donburi" (丼) which means rice bowl in Japanese. If you see "don" at the end of the name of a recipe, it means it's served on rice. I'm a big fan of donburi and have many recipes for you to check out. Here are a few of my favourites
- Katsudon (pork cutlet and egg)
- Gyudon (beef and onion)
- Chashu don (chashu pork)
- Yakiniku don (Korean BBQ style beef)
- Smoked Salmon and Avocado donburi
- Karaage don (fried chicken)
- Garlic Teriyaki Chicken don
Donburi dishes are always made with Japanese short grain rice. Check out our guide on how to cook Japanese style rice on the stove here. (No rice cooker required!)
Tips and tricks to make an amazing oyakodon at home
Oyakodon is definitely a good dish to make at home! It's simple, easy and quick. Here are some tips and tricks to make the best oyakodon in your own kitchen!
Adding soy sauce towards the end
In Japan, we have a rule called "cooking sa shi su se so (料理のさしすせそ)". While it sounds like we're singing the alphabet, these sounds actually refer to:
- sa: sugar (sato)
- shi: salt (shio)
- su: vinegar (su)
- se: soy sauce (shoyu, seuyu)
- so: miso
When seasoning food, if you add them in this order, the food will taste better. It's not something you have to follow strictly, but it's worth remembering. When it comes to soy sauce, it's recommended to add later, as it can lose its flavour when it's cooked for too long.
I try to follow this rule, which means when making oyakodon, I simmer the chicken and onion in the dashi but exclude the soy sauce. I then add the soy sauce later, near the end.
Use light brown sugar
Of course this is optional, but by using light brown sugar instead of white sugar, the sweetness of the sauce is more complex.
Room temperature eggs
Eggs fresh out of the fridge are cold and take longer to cook. By letting them reach room temperature beforehand, the cooking time will be reduced! They will also cook more evenly.
Cook the onions thoroughly
By cooking onions thoroughly, the texture becomes soft and the natural sweetness of the onions will be added to the dish, creating a deeper flavour!
Adding egg white first
Egg yolks and egg whites have different coagulation temperatures. (The temperature in which they firm up.) With that in mind, I add the egg white to the pan first, then whisk the yolk lightly and add it near the end. This also makes a better colour on the top of the dish!
Be careful not to whisk the egg too much
If you whisk the eggs too much, they will lose their firmness and become too foamy. Use chopsticks or a fork to whisk them back and forth in the bowl a few times, that's enough for oyakodon!
Adding the egg at the right time
When you add the beaten eggs, the heat on the stove should be set to medium, and the liquid in the pan should be simmering. If the temperature is too low, the mixture will turn cloudy and not fluffy.
After the egg whites are semi-cooked, I recommend adding the yolks, placing a lid on top and turning off the heat. The eggs will continue to cook in the residual heat which improves the texture and prevents overcooked, rubbery eggs!
Do not touch the egg once it's in
After pouring the beaten egg around the pan, try not to interfere with it. If you touch the egg before it hardens, it will mix with the dipping sauce and prevent the egg from binding properly.
It is best just to keep an eye on the egg after it has been added for a soft and fluffy texture.
Watch our video for how to make homemade oyakodonPrint
Step by step recipe
Oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl)
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 Servings 1x
Classic Japanese "Oyakodon" (親子丼) chicken and egg rice bowl. Sticky Japanese white rice topped with fried chicken thigh, simmered onions and silky egg. (Recipe doesn't include cooking rice - serves 2)
- 200g skin on chicken thigh cut into bitesize pieces
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- A drizzle of vegetable oil
- ½ white onion cut into thin wedges
- 50ml mirin
- 10g light brown sugar
- 100ml dashi
- 1 tsp chicken stock powder
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 medium eggs room temperature
- Chopped spring onions and/or kizami nori to garnish (optional)
- "Mitsuba" Japanese wild parsley to garnish (optional)
- 2 portions cooked white rice (approx 300g)
- Sprinkle chicken thigh with a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp flour, make sure it's evenly coated.
- Heat a frying pan on medium and add a drizzle of vegetable oil. Place the chicken thigh pieces in the pan, skin side down.
- Fry the chicken until the skin becomes crispy and then flip over.
- Seal on the other side, then turn off the heat and set aside for now.
- In a pan, add 100ml dashi, 50ml mirin, 10g sugar, 1 tsp chicken stock powder and mix.
- Add the onion to the pan and on a medium heat, cook until onion is slightly softened.
- Once the onion is softened, 2 tbsp soy sauce and the cooked chicken pieces to the pan.
- Separate 3 eggs into two bowls and whisk the egg whites.
- Pour the egg whites into the pan. (Do not add the yolks yet.)
- Place a lid onto the pan and allow to cook for 1 minute.
- Lightly whisk the egg yolks and then once 1 minute is up, drizzle them over the contents of the pan.
- Place the lid back on and turn off the heat.
- Allow the egg to cook with the residual heat until you're happy with the doneness of the egg. (Traditionally oyakodon's egg is quite runny.)
- Dish up the rice and place the egg and chicken mixture on top.
- Garnish with chopped spring onion, kizami nori and/or mitsuba.
If you don't have a rice cooker, you can use this method to cook Japanese style rice on the stove.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: Rice
- Method: Simmering
- Cuisine: Japanese
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What does "oyakodon" mean?
Oyakodon (親子丼) literally means parent and child rice bowl.
What is in Oyakodon?
Oyakodon is most commonly made with chicken and egg, but it can also be made with salmon and fish roe called "ikura".
What kind of rice do you use for oyakodon?
Donburi dishes are always made with short grain Japanese white rice. Most Japanese families have a rice cooker and that makes donburi recipes quick and easy, but you can also cook Japanese style rice on the stove. I have a post about it here.
How do you make Oyakodon sauce?
The sauce is made with typical Japanese ingredients such as soy sauce, mirin, sake. I use tsuyu sauce in my recipe for extra umami.