Oyakodon is a nutritious, unpretentious, and wholesome one-dish meal typically consisting of eggs and chicken pieces laid over a hot bowl of rice. It is one of those dishes that I have tried and loved, but somehow forgotten about… until I saw Cosy Bites’ recipe which inspired me to create a vegetarian version, since I am mostly vegetarian (I have become one of those annoying fish-eating veggie hybrids called pescetarians :P).
I have chosen to cook this dish to commemorate Mother’s Day due to its very symbolic name, which literally means ‘parent-child rice bowl’. Although Mothering Sunday falls in March in Britain, the May date is very special to me as it always falls within several days of my mum’s birthday, making it a double celebration.
Making this dish vegetarian is more challenging than I thought, as I had to find suitable veggie substitutes for two main ingredients: chicken and dashi (bonito fish stock). In this recipe, I used Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces and shiitake-kombu (kelp) stock. If you can’t find Quorn, use other meat substitute or seitan.
For those looking for a recipe befitting the wonderful occasion, be sure to try out the oyakodon. Place on a tray with a bowl of miso soup for brunch-in-bed. If you eat chicken, do check out Cosy Bite’s recipe. If not, here is a vegetarian alternative.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 2 cups of rice (I used Japanese short grain (Calrose) but you can use any)
- 2/3 cup of shiitake water (from reconstituting 5 shiitake mushrooms)
- 2/3 cup of vegetable stock (or stock cube dissolved in water)
- 1 sliver of dried kombu (kelp), rinsed and patted dry
- 150g of Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces (or other brands of meat substitute), defrosted
- 30g of shimeji mushrooms, roots discarded
- 20g of enoki mushrooms, roots discarded
- 3 eggs
- 1 medium onion, julienned
- a handful of chopped mitsuba (Japanese parsley) or coriander/cilantro (if you can’t find mitsuba)
- a handful of chopped spring onions/scallions
- 2 tbsp of mirin (sweet cooking sake)
- 2 tsp of sugar
- a light splash of sake (or dry white wine)
- 3 tbsp of soy sauce
- a light dash of sesame oil
- salt and white pepper to taste
- a pinch of kizami nori (shredded nori) for garnish
1. Cook rice according to packet instructions. If you are using Japanese or Calrose short grain, be sure to rinse rice thoroughly several times to remove excess starch. The rice:water ratio is 1:1.25 if you are using short grain. But any rice will do depending on your preference.
2. Marinate Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces in 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Use hands to coat evenly.
3. In a skillet, heat mushroom water, vegetable stock and kombu. Bring to a boil and discard kombu. Then add mirin, soy sauce, sake or wine, and sugar to stock.
4. Reduce heat. Add onions and cover with lid. Simmer for about 2 minutes before adding the Quorn pieces. Cover again and simmer for another 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, replace lid, and let simmer for another minute or so.
5. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat eggs lightly in multiple ‘W’ motions.
6. Taste your stock and adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
7. Turn up heat. Pour egg mixture into the skillet. Ensure that egg mixture coats the ‘chicken’, mushrooms, and onion evenly. Add half the mitsuba or coriander/cilantro and spring onions. Place lid back on and cook for about a 30 seconds.
8. Turn off heat. The egg mixture should simply slide off the skillet into a bowl of hot rice. Garnish with remaining greens, kizami nori, and a dash of sesame oil. If you have some stock left, pour into bowl as it is where the flavours are.