Donburi, or Japanese rice bowl dishes are common menu items in many Japanese restaurants. These consist of a bowl of plain rice served with various toppings in a sweet or savoury sauce. Common toppings include meats such as beef, chicken, pork or fish.
One of my favourite donburi dishes is Teriyaki Chicken Don, which as the name suggests, is a serving of teriyaki chicken served on rice. Unfortunately, most restaurants don’t include vegetables with the dish, and the teriyaki sauce used tends to be MSG-laden.
My solution? Cook it at home!
Cooking Japanese food can be a time-consuming and laborious process, but donburi is actually very quick and easy to prepare at home. Making teriyaki sauce from scratch is not difficult, and I find the homemade sauce to be more subtle in flavour compared to a ready-made one.
Here I’ve used a teriyaki sauce recipe from Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko. The ingredients (Japanese soy sauce, sake, mirin) can be easily found in most Asian grocery stores. However I recommend buying genuine cooking sake and mirin instead of the watered-down imitations. If in doubt, check the alcohol content and buy the version with a higher alcohol percentage.
Add lots of steamed vegetables, and voilà! A well-balanced Japanese meal full of taste and flavour.
Teriyaki Chicken Don
2 servings, as a main
1 cup Japanese short-grain rice (sometimes sold as sushi rice)
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
2 tbsp (30 ml) cooking oil
2 tsp (10 ml) sugar
shredded nori (seaweed sheets), for garnishing, optional
For the teriyaki sauce:
3 tbsp (45 ml) shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
3 tbsp (45 ml) sake
3 tbsp (45 ml) mirin
1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar
Make the teriyaki sauce by mixing the sauce ingredients together and heating in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside and leave to cool.
Wash and cook the rice with 1 cup (250 ml) of water.
When the rice is cooked, leave it to stand, covered. Steam the broccoli and set aside, uncovered. (If left covered the remaining steam will overcook the vegetables).
Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat and lightly fry the chicken meat. When the colour of the meat changes, add the teriyaki sauce and sugar. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the meat is cooked. As the sugar dissolves, the teriyaki sauce will reduce into a glaze. If the sauce is reduced before the meat is done, lower the heat, add 1-2 tbsp of water to the pan and continue cooking. When done, remove from heat.
Scoop the warm rice into individual bowls, then top with the steamed broccoli and teriyaki chicken. Drizzle any remaining sauce over the bowls and garnish with the nori, if desired.