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The Comfort Bowl

August 29, 2016

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Wide World of Donburi

Here are some standard donburi variations. But there are no rules as to what you can put on top of a bowl of rice (see Roast Beef Don on the next page). If you are making donburi and want to try something outside the norm, just follow your imagination and your taste buds. Remember that juices from the topping will be soaked up by the rice.

Oyakodon
This donburi of chicken and scrambled egg may be one of the most difficult to get right. The loosely whisked egg must be just runny enough, and the chicken cannot be allowed to go dry. Oyakodon also contains sautéed onion which adds natural sweetness, though sugar and sometimes mirin – sweet sake – is added to the soy- and sake sauce. A recommended garnish is mitsuba, if available. It is a pungent, parsley-like herb.

Gyudon
Gyudon is made with very thin slices of beef cooked with onions in a sweet soy mixture. Often eaten with beni shoga, red pickled ginger, and a raw egg. One of Japan's most popular native fast-foods, and sold by several major chains.

Tendon
The name is short for tempura-donburi. A high-calorie topping of tempura (battered and deep-fried) prawns and/or vegetables, drizzled with a sweet soy and sake sauce.

Katsudon
One of the most popular donburi. A breaded deep-fried pork cutlet (katsu) is sliced and simmered in a sweet soy and sake mixture then combined with scrambled egg before placing on rice.

Unadon
Another rich, high-energy donburi, this one utilizes fillets of eel, grilled and basted in what's called kabayaki style, glazed with a thick, caramelized, soy-based sauce.

Kaisendon
A colorful, uncooked topping made of various cuts of sashimi, raw fish, as well as fish eggs such as salmon roe. Eaten with soy sauce and wasabi, Japanese horseradish.

Tekkadon
Raw tuna topping, usually marinated in soy and sake. Named with the characters for “fire” and “iron” for its red-hot look, this is one of the easiest donburi to make, yet can be on the expensive side as it requires plenty of sashimi-grade tuna.

Chukadon
“Chinese style” donburi, a topping that's something like the made-up Western dish “chop suey.” A mixture of sautéed meat and vegetables in a thick cornstarch sauce.

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