Saturday, 28 July 2012

mother and child meal

Ever since my elder child went on to secondary school, with longer school days, he hardly comes home for lunch. Gone were the days when the three of us would chit chat over the lunch table. With extra lessons and activities in the afternoons, I only get to have lunch with his younger brother twice or if I am lucky, three times on a normal school week. I know I shouldn't complaint, but I find it difficult to cook for just the two of us. I am ever so tempted to rely on take-outs instead of turning on the stove. But, the feeling of guilt will always come haunting me if I fail to put home cooked meals on the table.

So, I resort to fuss-free, whenever possible, fume-free, quick and easy to pull together, under 30mins meals...just like this parent and child donburi.

I was introduced to the Japanese cuisine way back in the early 90s. The first time I read/saw the kanji '親子丼' or oyakodon on the menu, I formed the impression that it is so named because it is a 'mother (母親) and child (孩子) meal'...a loving okasan cooks this special dish for her child; mother and child then sit down to enjoy the dish together. Indeed it was a very heart-warming scene I had conjured, a parent-child bonding thingy because I had subconsciously interpreted it based on the Chinese context of the characters '親子'. It was only many years later that I read that the parent and child here refers to the two main ingredients, chicken and egg! I felt really sheepish when I realised my mistake. Can you almost imagine how that scene in my mind was shattered? very anti-climate isn't it? lol! I should have known better since I learned long ago that many kanji words have totally different meaning from the Chinese characters.

When I first attempted to replicate this chicken-and-egg donburi at home, I used pre-mixed pack. Ok, I know, it is very embarrassing, but what to do for someone who was, and still is, a culinary idiot. Glad to say, I have since progressed from pre-mix, to cooking it, almost, from scratch. But it still lacks the real authentic flavour as I don't make my own dashi. I can easily cheat by using instant dashi powder but I don't want to, as the ones I saw available on the local supermarket shelves come with added msg. To avoid the hassle of making dashi, I used water...and, a dash of fish sauce! Believe it or not, it comes quite close to the real thing, at least my untrained, unsophisticated taste buds makes me think so. For the time being, this is the way I prepare this dish, but I am sure in time to come, I will make dashi from scratch.

P/S: I use this brand "Megachef' fish sauce(it doesn't contain msg), my friend VB has kindly sent it to me all the way from Hong Kong :)

Easy Oyakodo
(serves 2)


1 large chicken thigh, deboned, remove skin, cut into bite site
1 medium size yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 eggs, very lightly beaten
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sake (I replaced with ryori sake, Japanese cooking rice wine)
1/2 cup dashi (I replaced with water and a dash of Thai fish sauce)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used Japanese soy sauce, Yamasa brand)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
some spring onions, cut into 1" length
2 bowls of cooked rice

In a small frying pan, heat mirin and sake and bring to a boil. Add dashi, soya sauce and sugar, bring to a boil. Add onions, cook till soften, about 2 mins. Add chicken meat, leave to simmer for about 2 to 3 mins or until the chicken is cooked. Toss in the spring onions. Drizzle in the eggs, do not stir. Turn off the heat once the eggs is almost set. Place rice in a large serving bowl. Pour chicken and egg mixture over the rice. Serve with nori (optional).

Recipe source: adapted from 30种爆红人气外食


鲸鱼蓝蓝蓝 said...


Simply bakes said...

omygosh!! I totally agree:'( I cant remember the last time i had lunch with my mother ever since i entered secondary school... Secondary school timings just make it impossible for us to spend more time with our family, i cant imagine when we grow up and get into uni!

PH said...

Very nice dish!

charmine said...

haha you're not wrong actually. 親子 does mean parent and child, but in this case, it refers to the chicken (the parent) and its (potential) child (the egg). it sounds kinda cruel doesn't it? :S

Christine Ho said...

Oh well, for my family, whatever we eat together, it's a bonding formed in between.
Love this simple yet delicious dish. :)

Cuisine Paradise said...

Haizzz soon in a few more years time my boy will be in secondary school too! And I will be left all alone for lunch..... But no matter what, as long as we have time, we can always share food and bonding time anytime at the dining table with our loved ones!

happy-bowl said...

HHB, you are being too, too, too modest calling yourself a culinary idiot.Just look at this blog....pls change your mind, coz i look upon you whenever i am in need of a recipe....:-)

mj said...

Hi HHB, I think I still prefer your original interpretation of Oyakodon, that it is a Mother & Child meal, lovingly cooked by a mother & eaten with her child ;-)

Anonymous said...

This meal looks yummy and the pictures is very well taken! ^^
With dashi it will taste different indeed, you can find instant dashi with no MSG, I bought mine in NTUC Finest. It is easy to make dashi from scratch too, try it some day *^^*

hanushi said...

This is so appetizing and you are certainly not a culinary idiot, my dear. :)

sherlyn said...

Hi, I am back, here first then to write u an email.
I cook oyakudon .. is this same as your donburi? I am lazy, I just use mirin in my egg over panfried chicken thigh boneless and my fussy children are happy about it. With your recipe, I have another excuse to buy fish sauce! I always see alot of sauces used in recipes, like dijon mustard, worchestire sauce (ok please pardon the spelling), balsamic vinegar etc and I wish I can own all of them. :-)
Talk about not able to have a meal with the kids... even primary school kids now have to stay back in school most of the time. Mine sometimes stay 4 times in a week. I deliver homecook food . A few mothers I know also deliver homecooked food or at least buy nutritious food outside for their kids, cos the canteen food in the primary school really cannot make it! Like you, I often want get frustrated over having to cook just for the 3 of us (2 kids and 1 adult make 2 adults meals) so now I stick to spagetti, macaroni cheese, 燴飯, wraps and oyakudon as lunch.
I love your bowl. Will try your new recipe, but I must buy fish sauce first.
I shall go read your older post now.

Blessed Homemaker said...

Dd1 doesn't take her lunch at home for almost the whole of last year as there were supplementary classes, CCA and their regular 2 days late dismissal. But this year, their new principal changed the school hours thus she is able to come back for lunch at least once a week, sometimes 2.

When both elder siblings are in school, we usually eat out or i just cook sweet oats for Dd3. To me, this dish is still "complicated" and I usu cook it for dinner :p

Kitty Pierce said...

My entire family love this dish, including my oldest son who has aspergers and fights eating most foods because of texture. This is one of the few meals in 17 years that he has eaten without complaint and even said it was good. It is a go to comfort dish for me now. Thank you so much.