GOHAN LAB/ Chicken and egg rice bowl: add a little sweetness to enhance the flavor of the popular dish

Editor’s note: The theme of Gohan Lab is to help people prepare simple and tasty “gohan” (meals).

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Starting this week, we’ll feature popular staples. The first in line is “oyako-don”, literally “parent-child rice bowl dish”. The flavored rice with the sweet-salty simmered liquid along with the fluffy egg and plump chicken all contribute to this flavorful staple.

Still, some people seem to have trouble “hit the mark” with the flavor. The key to the simmered liquid, shown by Akiko Watanabe who oversaw the cooking aspect of the recipe, is a bit of sugar added to soy sauce and sweet mirin sake which are used in equal amounts. Subtle sweetness is the secret to fine flavor.

If preparing the dashi broth seems too complicated, you can use a little granulated broth mixed with water according to the instructions on the bag.

A frying pan 20 centimeters in diameter was used to cook the dish. If a larger pan is used, the egg mixture will spread thinner and cook faster. Adjust the cooking time so that the egg does not become hard.

The arranged version is garlic chives (“nira”) “tied with egg”, a cooking method called “tamago-toji”. This time, however, the seasonings are the same amount of soy sauce and sweet, sugar-free mirin sake. Lightening up the sweetness will make the dish more like a side dish.


(Supervised by Akiko Watanabe in the cooking component and Midori Kasai in the culinary sciences component)

* Ingredients (For two)

100 grams of chicken thigh (without skin), 80 grams of onion, 6 “mitsuba” stalks with leaves, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of dashi broth, 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of sweet mirin sake, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, 300 to 360 grams of cooked rice

About 510 kcal and 2.3 grams of salt per serving

1. Halve the onion lengthwise and slice against the grain into slices 6-7mm wide. Cut the mitsuba stems into 3 cm lengths. Cut the chicken thigh into 1 cm wide pieces and cut each diagonally into 2 cm long pieces (PHOTO A). Crack the eggs into a bowl and mix lightly with long chopsticks for cooking.

PHOTO A: Cut the chicken into small pieces so that it cooks easily. Add them to the simmering liquid when it’s still cold to make sure they’re cooked through. (Photo by Masahiro Goda)

2. Add the dashi broth, soy sauce, sweet mirin sake and sugar to the pan and stir. Add onion and chicken. When the pan comes to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low and turn the chicken pieces over. Put the lid on and simmer, 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion softens and the chicken is cooked.

3. To the slightly boiling simmering liquid in the pan, pour the egg in a whirling motion starting from the center. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes without mixing, and when the egg is 80% cooked (PHOTO B), sprinkle mitsuba on top. Turn off the stove, put the lid on and let the contents sit for 1-2 minutes.

4. Serve the hot rice in a bowl. Take the contents (mentioned in 3) with a spatula, place on the rice (PHOTO C) and also pour a little simmering liquid.

The Asahi Shimbun


Akiko Watanabe is a cooking expert specializing in Japanese cuisine.

Midori Kasai is professor emeritus at Ochanomizu University and former president of the Japan Society of Cookery Science.


Egg Tied Garlic Chives

Egg Tied Garlic Chives (Photo by Masahiro Goda)

Cut 50 grams or 1/2 bunch of garlic chives (nira) into 3 cm lengths. Crack 2 eggs into a bowl and mix well. Add 3/4 cup dashi broth, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and mild mirin sake to a saucepan, stir and bring to a boil. Add chives and simmer over low heat for 1-2 minutes. When the simmering liquid boils slightly, add the egg as if writing the hiragana character “no” starting from the center. Simmer for 1-2 minutes and turn off the heat when the egg is about 80% cooked. Place the lid and let the contents sit for 1-2 minutes.


The Asahi Shimbun

While the egg is in a liquid state when raw, it becomes solid when heated. It solidifies as it is even when mixed with other ingredients such as dashi stock, vegetables or meat and heated. When the egg is diluted with dashi broth which is 3-4 times its quantity and cooked with various ingredients, you get “chawanmushi”, a steamed egg custard. Ground beef, where egg is added to ground meat as a binding agent, is a dish that makes good use of the characteristic of egg.

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From Asahi Shimbun’s Gohan Lab Column