Chicken Donburi w. Braised Napa Cabbage

14 Nov

Japanese two posts in a row!  Donburi is a rice bowl dish,  and while ground chicken is not something I ever make- this Harumi recipe intrigued me.  It is seriously tasty– and very quick and easy to make.  It is topped with sweetened shiitake mushrooms and a (just a little bit) runny egg.  I decided to braise some napa cabbage on the side, as Jess gave me her CSA stash, and I had to put it to good use.

Ground chicken came as one pound package- so I doubled the recipe below:
1 cup (1/2 pound) ground chicken [if you can’t find ground chicken, you make your own by putting boneless chicken into a food processor]
1 1/2 tablespoon mirin
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon superfine sugar [to make superfine sugar, I put regular sugar in a coffee grinder for few pulses.  If you don’t have, just regular sugar would work fine]

6 dried shitake mushrooms (or other kind of mushroom), soaked in 1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon superfine sugar

1 egg
cooked rice
a few snap peas- to garnish [I left out]

Put minced chicken, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar and in a pan and simmer [over medium heat], until nearly all the liquid is evaporated. [This took me about 12 minutes.]

Sweetened Mushrooms:
Soak mushrooms in warm water until soft, then lightly squeeze out, removing excess water, reserve excess water.  If any mushrooms are big, slice.  Put all ingredients in small skillet, including the 1/4 mushroom water. Bring up to a lively simmer.  Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated [this took about 5 minutes.]  They get sort of caramalized.

Make rice.
Make egg, by boiling for 8 minutes in boiling water.  Place in cold water to cool. Peel and quarter.

Braised Cabbage- this recipe comes from from Karoline Boehm Goodnick (ah, the internet)
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small head napa cabbage, cut off bottom end, slice in half lengthwise, remove core, cut into rough 2 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks [do this peeling, then slicing into rounds. then stack and slice across stack of rounds to get matchsticks]
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

The key to this- is to cook the cabbage in a searing hot skillet- high heat is essential – to caramelize the leaves. Saute in two batches so overcrowding doesn’t steam the vegetables.
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil . When it is very hot, add half the cabbage. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes or until leaves begin to brown. Remove them from pan. Use 1 teaspoon of the remaining vegetable oil to cook the remaining cabbage in the same way; remove from the pan.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to pan. Cook the garlic and ginger, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
In a small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch. Stir the soy sauce into the pan. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil.
Return all the cabbage to pan, stirring well to coat it all over. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the scallions and vinegar.


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