UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
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During my last visit to Tokyo, my grandma sent me home with some store bought, vacuum-sealed beef soboro. It had been a really long time since I had Soboro Donburi, so I was happy to indulge in some nostalgia when I got back to California.

Soboro Donburi is typically made up of three toppings on rice: ground chicken, egg, and snow peas. Boro-boro is the onomatopoeia for "crumbly" in Japanese, hence the crumbly texture of the egg and meat in the dish.

Although you have to prepare three toppings, Soboro Donburi is actually quite easy to make and doesn't involve a laundry list of ingredients. As long as you have mirin, sake, soy sauce, and some time to run to the store, Soboro Donburi is within reach for American cooks.

Soboro Donburi


Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Chicken:
1/2 lb ground chicken
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
1.5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

Eggs:
3 eggs
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sake
Pinch of salt

Peas:
10 snow peas

2 servings of steamed white rice

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METHOD

1. Combine chicken, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp sake, 1.5 tbsp sugar, and 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger in a mixing bowl. Mix well with a spoon.

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2. Add the mixture into a sauce pan on the stove and turn heat on medium-low.



Get 5 chopsticks and mix vigorously while the meat mixture cooks. Using the chopsticks breaks up the mixture and creates the "crumbly" effect.

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3. After about 3 minutes, the mixture will start to juice and sweat. Keep mixing with chopsticks until all the liquid evaporates (about 5 minutes).

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4. Once the meat browns a bit and is truly crumbly, transfer into a clean bowl and set aside.

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5. Bring water to a boil in a sauce pan to cook the snow peas.

6. Clean snow peas in a colander while the water comes to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath for the snow peas.

7. Once the water comes to a boil, add the snow peas and boil for 1 minute.

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Drain the peas in a colander and transfer immediately to the ice water bath.

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8. Crack 3 eggs in a saucepan and add 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp sake, and pinch of salt.

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With 5 chopsticks, mix vigorously for about 10 seconds. Turn the heat on medium-low and continue mixing with the 5 chopsticks as the egg slowly cooks and breaks apart.

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9. Keep mixing for another 2 minutes and it will look like this.

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10. Once it looks cooked, crumbly, and fluffy, turn the heat off and transfer to a bowl.

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11. Drain the snow peas in a colander and cut into thin strips.

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Put strips into a bowl.

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12. Scoop rice into bowls or bento boxes.

13. Arrange half of the meat, peas, and egg over each serving of rice in thirds.

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Thanks to my Baba-chan (grandmother) in Shimokitazawa for reminding me of this nostalgic dish. I'm bringing it to back to the Bay!

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