Soboro was one of the dishes served for lunch during our tour of Kyoto castles and Nara. It was a canteen-style lunch with dishes in stainless steel trays set over simmering water. We pointed to the ones we liked, they gave us a serving of each so we ended up with several bowls and plates on our trays. I’m sure you know the kind of set-up that I’m trying to describe here.
It wasn’t a particularly good lunch (part of the tour package, you see) but the soboro was among the few dishes that I truly enjoyed. And even if it wasn’t served in an attractive way. The minced chicken was simply dumped in a bowl. But the chicken was tasty so I never forgot.
This recipe is for soboro don. Or soboro donburi if you want the longer version. The minced chicken is ladled over hot rice in a bowl, and eggs and greens are arranged on the side. Outside Japan, I don’t often see soboro don in restaurant menus where the staples are often arrays of over-plated sushi and tempura. In Japan, soboro don is comfort food. Sweet rather than salty which is probably why it’s a favorite with children.
For the eggs
- 3 eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
To complete the dish
- cooked Japanese rice
- sliced scallions
Marinate the chicken
- In a bowl, stir together the chicken, cooking oil, soy sauce, sake, mirin, ginger and sugar. Cover and set aside.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl with salt and sugar.
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan and pour in the eggs. Tilt the pan to allow the eggs to spread. Cook until set.
- Transfer the omelet to a cutting board. Roll up then cut into thin strips. Set aside.
Cook the soboro
- Reheat the frying pan. Spread the chicken with the marinade evenly.
- Cook over medium-high heat for about a minute then stir. Continue cooking, with occasional stirring, until the liquid has dried up.
Assemble the soboro don
- Ladle cooked Japanese rice into three bowls.
- Top the rice with soboro, egg and scallions.
- Serve the soboro don immediately.