Japanese rice bowls are always packed with nutritious ingredients that won’t leave you feeling hungry afterward, whether you’re looking for healthy dinner options or filling vegetarian meals. Furthermore, rice bowls are easily modifiable. Each family member may choose what they wish to include or exclude, making this a fail-safe family dinner concept. Simply place the items in separate bowls and allow everyone to create their own meal. We guarantee you will not hear any complaints! If you can’t get enough, Japanese rice bowls make the finest lunch leftovers the next day. So, without further ado, learn everything there is to know about Japanese rice bowls right now.
I. What are Japanese Rice Bowls?
Here’s what to do if you simply have no idea what to make for supper tonight: Cook some rice, quinoa, farro, or any other grain. Gather some vegetables from your refrigerator. Place everything in a bowl. Finally, add a protein (a fried egg! Grilled chicken? Tofu?). A fast sauce or a squeeze of lemon juice will truly make your dinner sparkle; it makes all the difference. In essence, the recipes for these vibrant, simple rice bowls are variations on that formula; they include straightforward suggestions for evening meals and more inventive bowls to liven up your Wednesday.
The rice bowl. These meals are straightforward but filling, and they have recently become more well-known outside of their native Asian nations. However, while many of the rice bowls invented outside of Japan contain fashionable, healthy ingredients like quinoa, the real kind from Japan is perfect when you’re looking for a hearty, filling lunch.
These Japanese rice bowls or rice-and-named-topping are known as donburi in Japanese. The idea behind donburi is brilliant in some people’s eyes. A one-bowl Japanese rice bowl size is a perfect dish to prepare at home because it has nutritious ingredients including grains, protein, vegetables, and sauce.
Even fast food franchises that specialize in Japanese rice bowls may be found in Japan, where you place your order, pay, and then pick it up at the serving counter. They are so convenient and filling that it is no surprise that office employees favor them for quick meals.
Keep reading to learn some of the simple recipes for Japanese rice bowls you can prepare on any day of the week if you enjoy the idea of mouthwatering Japanese rice bowls.
II. Types of Japanese rice bowls and applications of each type
Japan is home to nearly endless regional styles of donburi. However, there are a few types of traditional Japanese rice bowls that you’re likely to find wherever in Japan you travel. Here are 15 of them.
1. Oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Bowl)
This donburi’s name translates as “parent-child rice bowl.” While the moniker is a tad ghoulish, it is unquestionably delicious.
Oyakodon is chicken, onion, and egg cooked in a mirin, soy sauce, sake, and sugar broth and served over rice. The egg is runny, making it easy to incorporate into the rice.
This protein-packed home-style dish scores for its simplicity as a twist on the chicken-and-egg combo. It’s filling but healthful, making it a go-to lunch to kick off the week.
2. Gyudon (Beef Bowl)
Gyudon (beef bowl) is one of the best Japanese rice bowls, featuring thinly sliced beef cooked with onion in a savory-sweet sauce. This type of donburi can be found at a number of restaurants, including convenient, low-cost chain restaurants. It’s created with thinly sliced beef cooked in a mixture of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. It’s frequently accompanied by beni shoga, a type of pickled ginger that ranges in color from light pink to brilliant crimson. The sweet-savory flavor of the meat pairs well with the refreshing acidity of the ginger. As shown above, it can also be topped with a soft-boiled egg.
3. Tendon (Tempura Donburi)
The ‘ten’ in ‘tendon’ actually derives from tempura, despite the fact that when written out in English, the name of this donburi appears like the name of the tissue that joins muscle to the bone! Depending on the restaurant or the order, the tempura you receive in your rice bowl may vary, but a typical type is a mixture of vegetable tempura and a piece of shrimp tempura.
Ten Don’s recipe for golden, crispy shrimp and vegetable tempura, served over steamed rice and drizzled with tentsuyu (tempura dipping sauce), is a great treat for a memorable Saturday night dinner. Enjoy this dish with a cup of miso soup and a side of cooling salad for a complete dinner.
Unadon is a specialty in Japanese cuisine. Unadon, which combines the words “eel” (unagi) and “donburi” (don), is a dish created with eel fillets that have been coated in a sweet-salty tare sauce. Even though eel is pricey seafood, you must taste this donburi. Unagi which has been expertly grilled is served with warm rice and a sweet caramelized sauce that is simply tempting. Unagi can be purchased already grilled or can be quickly grilled and vacuum-packed if you want to prepare unadon at home.
Order an una-ju if you want to indulge in even more eel. It shares the same idea as the unadon but is served in a box shape called a ju and frequently contains more eel than the unadon.
Katsudon is identical to oyakodon, except instead of chicken, tonkatsu—breaded deep-fried pork cutlets—is used. This is a wonderfully hearty dinner that is ideal for a day spent traveling!
A kaisendon, which may be simply translated as “seafood rice bowl,” is a dish that consists of a variety of sashimi over rice. Depending on the time of year, what is fresh that day, and the restaurant’s specialties, you may get a certain type of fish.
7. Vegan Poke Bowl
Savory pan-fried tofu, colorful veggies, and brown rice are all included in this vegan poke bowl. Everything you require for a filling, wholesome dinner is there. Just 20 minutes to prepare!
8. Soy-Glazed Eggplant Donburi
A steaming bowl of rice is served with thinly sliced eggplant that has been pan-fried until golden brown and covered in sweet soy sauce. The most opulent vegan rice dish someone could ever whip together for a weekday meal.
9. Mapo Tofu
When you’re in the mood for something daring, this Japanese Tofu recipe won’t let you down. It combines silken tofu with ground pork mixture and is cooked in an incredibly delicious sauce and served in a rice bowl fashion. Children can eat it since it is mellower and less spicily prepared than Sichuan-style mapo tofu.
If you have extra rice from takeout, chahan, the Japanese variant of fried rice, is the ideal use for it. Include your preferred vegetables and top with nori and an egg as garnish.
11. Niratama Donburi
Niratama Danburi, which is served with hot rice and a soft, fluffy egg stir-fry with garlic chives, is cozy and especially pleasant. The straightforward recipe is distinguished by the strong garlic chives flavor. The flat, deep green garlic chives, commonly referred to as Chinese chives, are available at Asian produce markets and grocery stores in your area. You can also substitute ordinary chives, spinach, or other greens in its place.
12. Tamago Kake Gohan
This rice bowl is great for breakfast. This common breakfast dish consists of warm rice combined with a raw egg and optional soy sauce.
If you enjoy eating raw fish, begin here. For a fresh and rich flavor, thinly sliced raw tuna is added to this simple rice bowl.
This Japanese cuisine appeals to Western tastes. This rice can be topped with meat and onions, a dash of cream, and a tomato and mushroom demi-glace sauce if preferred.
If congee is dominating your local restaurant scene, then the food trends in your city are on point. Congee, also known as rice porridge or gruel, can be topped with a variety of ingredients and flavorings. With this one, your creativity is truly unlimited!
III. Japanese Rice Bowls Recipe Prep Tips
And for now, we want to share with you some prep tips for the Japanese rice bowls of yourself.
- Get ahead
Meal planning is made easy with rice bowl recipes! Make enough bowls for the entire week in advance, or use dinner leftovers for lunch the following day. Before you eat, keep the sauce in a separate container.
- Create additional separate components
Cook extra rice to use in a stir-fry or fried rice dish the following night or make enough sauce to keep on hand the entire workweek. You’ll sprinkle it over everything, even salads, and roasted vegetables.
- Utilize what you have and be inventive
Change the grain, protein, vegetable, or sauce in a recipe if you don’t have all the specified items on hand. Use roasted chickpeas or a hard-boiled egg in place of tempeh, or prepare a batch of quinoa or farro in its place. Make a new sauce if you don’t have everything you need for the one you want!
These fifteen Japanese rice bowls are a wonderful place to start a journey through the many donburi variants still available in Japan. Do you want to share your favorite donburi with us? Comment below and let us know!