Monday, January 2, 2012

Easy Chunky Tori Soboro Donburi With Aonori Dressing

Soboro typically is a soy sauce seasoned, crumbly, finer minced meat that is usually seen and eaten over rice. This version playfully combines the texture of chunkier chicken thigh pieces with that of ground and is finished with a simple Aonori flavored sauce.

Japanese comedian Yuichi Kimura over the years has stepped up his kitchen hobby into a semi-professional chef status, publishing several cookbooks and even having a few shows focusing on his new founded creative culinary talent. He had casually put this dish together for a guest on a television program and I thought I'd try it since it looked great but also very easy to make. Since it was a short segment the instructions weren't very detailed, so I had to improvise and fill in a few gaps between steps as I went.

To make two serving portions...
- Cut one larger chicken thigh (with or without skin) into 1"~1/2" pieces. S&P.
- Melt 1-Tbsp butter in a pan and cook the chicken over medium heat.
- When lightly colored, add approximate equal amount of ground chicken into the pan. Break up the ground chicken with your spatula into small minces, and continue to do so as it cooks. (Initially separating the thigh pieces with the ground chicken in the pan eases the process.)
- When fully cooked, taste and lightly S&P if needed.
- Spoon generously over a bowl of hot rice.

The dressing starts with...
- Equal parts of Soy Sauce and Mirin. I didn't measure but it was a couple seconds pour each (2~3Tbsp?). The program didn't mention but I quickly cooked off the alcohol in a small pan, then set aside to cool.
- Add Aonori (green lavar) about 1-Tbsp
- A small packet of fine shaving Katsuobushi bonito flakes.
- I felt the sauce was a little strong so I diluted it with a couple tablespoons of water.
- Optional: It actually called for a raw egg yolk but for the amount I was making I would've only needed a teaspoon of it. Since I don't stock quail eggs in my fridge... I just skipped.
- Drizzle over the soboro prior to serving.

[The original kombucha (aka kobucha).]

The best part is halfway through the meal, you can add some Kombucha powder and pinch of wasabi, pour hot water (better would be light chicken broth) and you have yourself a great Ochazuke. A note here that I'm speaking of the Japanese seaweed tea Kombucha (also often called "Kobucha") and not the misnamed effervescent yeast drink that most people here may know the name by.

While the donburi was pretty tasty, I thought the Ochazuke was even better! If I were to do things differently, I probably would've cut the thigh pieces evenly to an 1/2" consistency. That, and drizzle more of the tasty sauce. I personally love Aonori but to others, sometimes could be like Cilantro in that there are strong likes and dislikes for the marine scented condiment (especially within non-Japanese). Like how I feel Aonori is an absolute must on Takoyaki, only second to its sweet sauce, though sadly often left out in restaurants here. But anyway to me, the dressing felt versatile enough to be drizzled over most anything, at least with dishes that I would eat at home. Great to spruce up leftovers and whatnot. Yum.