Hi! I’m Sarah. I may not look it, but I’m half Japanese, half German/French. I’m 27 and in recent years have been guilted more and more by my mom to learn to friggin’ cook.

This is Yonsei Cooking, a series where I attempt to make Japanese recipes suggested by my mom and share the journey.

So! I’m a Yonsei, which means I’m fourth generation Japanese-American. Being JA is different than being Japanese from Japan, and just a disclaimer that what I cook and how I do it…will not be 100% “authentic.” But I’m doing this in the spirit of learning!

This series is not really about sharing recipes because let’s face it, I’m no fancy chef and I certainly have no illusions about my abilities. This is a way for me to connect to my family and integrate some Japanese home-cooking into my weekly life and I hope it’s okay I share this all with you.

Oyakodon Recipe

Yonsei Cooking, Episode 2: Oyakodon

Earlier this week my mom asked me if I liked beef bowls…and why yes, I enjoy anything with rice as a base. She sent me a photo of a recipe that was pretty vague: “Cook in stock!” So I turned back to Japanese Cooking 101 and found an oyakodon recipe that I used as well.

“Oyako” translates to “parents and children” because it is chicken served with egg. “Don” is short for “donburi” which means served in a bowl.

Oyakodon is not a fancy dish. It isn’t something you’d get out to dinner—it’s a simple lunch. You can find it at a casual restaurant in Japan, or more often you can make it single serving for yourself at home. But it’s very tasty, healthy (everything is boiled, no oil!), and you can adjust and add veggies and toppings to your tastes.

Earlier today I was out running some errands and decided to stop by the Japanese market and texted my mom about making the oyakodon. She advised to use thighs and to cut the chicken thin.

Oyakodon Recipe
So! Here’s what I used. This makes enough for two people!:
1 and 1/2 cups of steamed rice
2 chicken thighs (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 eggs
1/2 brown onion (sliced thinly)

1/2 cup dashi (I’ll show you how I made mine!)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce

Garnish (optional):
green onion

Oyakodon Recipe
I was also advised by my mom to grab a strainer at the Japanese market. Love my trusty new friend.

Oyakodon Recipe
Oyakodon Recipe
Alright, let’s do this!

There’s basically a few things you need to do:
1) Make your steamed rice
2) Prepare your sauce
3) Add ingredients to sauce
4) Egg! And serve over rice.

I’ll take you through the details of what I did.

Oyakodon Recipe
First! You should probably make your steamed rice. That’ll take the longest of anything else.

Oyakodon Recipe
I made 1 1/2 cups of rice with 2 cups water. Brought to a boil and then left to simmer for 16 minutes or so.

Oyakodon Recipe
Add 4 cups of water to a sauce pan

Oyakodon Recipe
Add a packet of dried bonito flakes. Japanese Cooking 101 also has a dashi recipe if you want to follow that.

Oyakodon Recipe
Oyakodon Recipe
Add some kombu to the water as well—my mom gave me this size but she recommended getting slightly bigger pieces of dried seawood.

Oyakodon Recipe
Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 3 minutes or so.

Oyakodon Recipe
While that is simmering, cut your onion into little pieces

Oyakodon Recipe
Oyakodon Recipe
Whip out your trusty strainer. I poured my dashi into a measuring cup and later transferred the leftovers into a mason jar. My mom said that the dashi is okay in the fridge another week, you can make something else!

Oyakodon Recipe
Time to make the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of your homemade dashi to a pan.

Oyakodon Recipe
Add 1 tbsp of sugar

Oyakodon Recipe
Add 1 tbsp of both mirin and sake

Oyakodon Recipe
Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce

Oyakodon Recipe
I also added a pinch of tondashi. My mom mentioned that you can use tondashi in place of MSG, it just makes things tastier.

Oyakodon Recipe
Mix this well and bring it to a boil. Shouldn’t take time at all.

Oyakodon Recipe
Add your sliced onions and lower the heat to medium

Oyakodon Recipe
Oyakodon Recipe
Once the onions have cooked down a little you can add in your cut chicken thighs.

Oyakodon Recipe
I kept stirring my chicken and onion, making sure the chicken was cooking on all sides.

Oyakodon Recipe
Oyakodon Recipe
While the chicken was cooking I beat the two eggs in a little dish.

Oyakodon Recipe
Oyakodon Recipe
After the chicken is cooked, add the egg mixture over the onions and chicken. Cover the pan!

Oyakodon Recipe
You can cook the eggs for as long as you like—I like my eggs a little softer so they weren’t in there covered for very long.

Oyakodon Recipe
Serve up the steamed rice

Oyakodon Recipe
Divide and pour the mixture onto the rice. Make sure all the sauce gets soaked into the rice, it’s the best part! Add on your green onions, kamaboko, and any other garnish you’re into.

Oyakodon Recipe
mom-convo2 copy
She double checked my cooking technique.

Oyakodon Recipe
Ate it hot for lunch with these beers imported from Japan. Refreshing!

Thank you, mom, for another delicious lunch.

Let me know if you try!

Much love friends.

Posted by:sarahwaldo

By day I'm a content producer at an arts org in Los Angeles, by night I am the overly apologetic brain and face of sleepywaldo.blog


  1. Looks delicious! If I can get the ingredients for the dashi I will definitely try to make it! I love donburi!

    I always find the idea of cooking chicken with egg so funny, like the chicken made its own sauce. Probably not a good idea to follow that thought much further cos it gets weird and gross…


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