Oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl)

This comforting dish of tender chicken and soft-cooked eggs over rice is a staple of Japanese home cooking and the izakaya tradition.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    1 hour 10 minutes


By Sylvan Mishima Brackett

Published on April 3, 2024

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The Japanese “don” family of dishes demonstrates the warming power of a good bowl of rice, and this recipe for oyakodon is no exception. Rice is also an essential final dish, or “shime,” at Rintaro, the San Francisco izakaya run by chef Sylvan Mishima Brackett. Though oyakodon may seem simple compared to some of the restaurant’s more elegant dishes, Brackett takes particular pride in making each rice dish its own work of art.

This recipe gets its rich flavor from homemade tsuyu, a sauce built on a base of katsuobushi niban dashi. Niban dashi, or “second steep” dashi, is a delicate stock made from the katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and konbu (kelp) that were previously used to prepare an ichiban (“first steep”) dashi. The hidden bonus of this dish is that it leaves you with a quart of homemade ichiban dashi to use in another recipe. 

In Japan, the traditional way to prepare oyakodon is with a small saucer-shaped lidded pan with sloped edges that help slide the chicken and egg mixture out onto the rice for each serving. (To reproduce the izakaya experience at home, you can find a similar pan from the Japanese manufacturer Korin.) 

If you can’t find mitsuba, a delicate herb that offers flavors of cedar and celery to the finished dish, substitute thinly sliced scallions. Usukuchi shoyu (soy sauce) and white shoyu are both lighter in color and taste than regular shoyu. They are not equivalent to American light soy sauce, which is lower in sodium.

Adapted with permission from Rintaro: Japanese Food from an Izakaya in California by Sylvan Mishima Brackett with Jessica Battilana. Published by ‎Hardie Grant Publishing, October 2023.


For the niban dashi:

  • One 2-in. square konbu
  • 4 tightly packed cups (40 g) katsuobushi

For the sauce:

  • ¼ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup usukuchi or white shoyu (see headnote)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tightly packed cups (20 g) katsuobushi

For the oyakodon:

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ lb. boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Fine salt
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 20 mitsuba sprigs, leaves separated and stems cut into 1-in. pieces (see headnote)
  • Cooked sushi rice and ground sansho powder, for serving


Step 1

Make the niban dashi: To a large pot over low heat, add the konbu and 4¼ cups water. Heat until an instant-read thermometer reaches 150°F when inserted into the water, 10–15 minutes (do not let simmer). Transfer the konbu to a plate and set aside. Turn the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Using chopsticks, stir in the katsuobushi until submerged. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to steep for 5 minutes. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl, line it with damp paper towels, and strain the dashi. Reserve for another use. (You should have about 3½ cups of ichiban dashi. It can be stored for up to 24 hours in an airtight container in the fridge.) Transfer the katsuobushi to the plate with the konbu and set aside.

Step 2

Clean the pot, then add the reserved konbu and katsuobushi and 2½ cups of water. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat, then cook until the dashi is a pale golden color, about 20 minutes. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl, line it with damp paper towels, and strain the dashi. Set aside (discard the solids). (You should have about 2 cups of niban dashi.)

Step 3

Make the sauce: To a small pot over medium-high heat, add the mirin, shoyu, sugar, and 1¼ cups of the niban dashi (reserve the remaining for another use). Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the katsuobushi. Let the katsuobushi settle to the bottom of the pot, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl, line it with paper towels, and strain the sauce. Set aside (discard the solids).

Step 4

Make the oyakodon: To a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the oil. Once hot, add the chicken skin-side down, and season to taste with salt. Cook until the chicken skin is brown and crisp, about 6 minutes, then turn. Push the chicken to the sides of the skillet and add the onion to the center. Cook, stirring the onion occasionally, until softened, 3–4 minutes. Stir together the chicken and onion, pour the reserved sauce over the top, and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat to medium-low.

Step 5

Into a small bowl, crack the eggs and use a fork to prick the yolks (but do not beat). Pour the eggs over the chicken and onion mixture, and garnish with the mitsuba leaves and stems. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 4–5 minutes. Using a spatula, divide the oyakodon into four sections.

Step 6

Divide the rice among four bowls and top each with a section of oyakodon. Serve immediately with sansho on the side.

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