I have been teaching cooking classes at the Ft. Worth Japanese Society and May 7 was the second in a series of three classes.  The first one was in April and I covered sukiyaki and mizutaki.  The class on May 7 was on donburi.

Donburi is Japanese comfort food. A simple bowl of rice, topped with meat, vegetables, or fish.  The deep serving bowl is called the “donburi”.  You can find donburi everywhere in Japan from small family cafes to large department store restaurants.  The donburi is usually served on a tray with a bowl of miso soup and a small dish of pickled vegetables.  Often the donburi has a lid on it to keep it hot until you eat it.  When I lived in Japan many years ago I always enjoyed various types of donburi including ten-don (shrimp tempura over rice), oyako-don (chicken and eggs over rice), and unagi-don (eel over rice).  In 2007 when I went on a trip to Tokyo with my daughter, Helen, we stayed at the Dai ichi Hotel.  To give you an idea of the cost of food in the hotel, continental breakfast in one of the many nice hotel restaurants cost $42.00.  The first night we were there we ventured outside the hotel and across the street I recognized the sign for Katsu-don, written in Hiragana.  (I studied Japanese language during my stay and remember restaurant signs quite well.)
The restuarant was filled with businessmen and families and our katsu-don arrived, steaming hot, everything perfectly cooked, for only $12.00.  We found many other small restaurants during our stay and never ate at the hotel (except for the one continental breakfast!)

Let’s eat!

The class was enthusiastic about all the dishes.

  I taught three types of donburi:  Maguro Donburi, Gyu-don, and Katsudon

Maguro Donburi

4, 3 ounce pieces sashimi-grade tuna
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T sake
2 t mirin
4 cups cooked sushi rice
thinly sliced pickled ginger
finely chopped nori
thinly sliced shiso leaves
thinly sliced cooked omelette
wasabi paste

Place tuna in plastic bag with marinade for 30 minutes.  Remove from bag and cut each piece into 6 slices.
Place 1 cup of rice in serving bowl and top with tuna slices and garnishes.  Drizzle with reserved marinade and serve with wasabi.

Sushi rice:

3 cups Japanese rice
3 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 T sugar
1 tsp salt
After washing and soaking rice, cook according to rice cooker directions or on stove.  Prepare sushi vinegar by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a sauce pan.  Put the pan on low heat and heat until sugar dissolves.
Cool the vinegar mixture.  Spread the hot steamed rice into a large bowl, non-metallic to prevent interaction with the vinegar.  A wooden sushi-oke is best if you can find one.  Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and gently fold the rice using a rice spatula (shamoji).  Don’t smash the rice.  To cool and remove the moisture of the rice use a fan as you mix the rice. 

Gyu-don  (beef bowl)
Serves 2

2 bowls fresh steamed Japanese rice
12 ounces thinly sliced beef (sirloin or rib eye)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 package shirataki noodles (optional)
1 1/2 cups dashi
4 T soy sauce
4 T mirin
1 T sake
Beni shoga (red pickled ginger) to taste
sliced scallions for garnish

optional:  3 eggs, lightly beaten

Freeze the beef and slice it when it is partially frozen for thin slices.  If using shirataki, rinse and cook in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Cut into 6 inch lengths. 
Place dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sake in  a large skillet.  Bring to boil.  Add meat and onions.  Cook until onion is soft and translucent.  If using eggs, add after beef is cooked.  Eggs will only take a couple minutes.
Place beef, onions, and sauce over steamed rice.  Serve with beni shoga.  Another option is to cook an over
easy egg for each bowl and place it on top.  In Japan diners mix in a raw egg.
This dish tastes better if you cook it ahead of time, cool it and re-heat it before you eat it.


Serves 2

8 ounces pork loin, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 beaten egg
2 cups panko bread crumbs
heavy pan with 1-2 inches of 350 degree vegetable oil

Pound pork to a thickness of 1/3 inch.  Coat with flour, salt and pepper.  Dip in egg, then panko.  Fry in hot oil for approximately 5 minutes total time.  Place on rack to drain.  Slice after it cools.

2-4 T soy sauce
1-2 T mirin
1/2 cup dashi
1-2 T sugar
1/2 onion sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 sheet seaweed, cut into thin strips

Place soy sauce, mirin, dashi, and sugar in pan.  When mixture comes to a simmer add onions and cook for a couple minutes.  Add slices of pork and cook until pork is heated through.  Add eggs and scallion.  Cook covered for a minute or tow, being careful to keep egg soft.  Place portion of pork/egg mixture over rice.
Serve with strips of seaweed, beni shoga, scallions and togarashi.


2 quarts water
5, 6 inch pieces of kombu (kelp)
1 cup tightly packed katsuobushi
Wipe the kombu with a paper towel.  In a large pot, bring water and kombu to almost a boil over medium heat.  Right before the water comes to a boil, remove the kombu and set aside.  Add the katsuobushi all at once.  Wait 10 seconds or until the liquid comes to boil.  Turn off heat, skim off any faom and let mixture stand for 2 minutes.  Strain through a sieve lined with cheese cloth.

All the dishes were delicious, according the the attendees.  I tried them all as well and loved the fresh tuna with the various garnishes, and of course, my all time favorite, katsu-don!