This dish is my homage to a popular Thai dish, pad gaprao (“holy basil chicken rice”; this dish is also popular in Japan, and we call it gapao gohan), and every component (chicken, rice, and egg) is made in a different style of donabe. This simple dish is so easy to make and really satisfying, so I make it quite often.
For the basil chicken, you can make it with any classic-style donabe, but I especially recommend Bistro Donabe. It’s because this donabe can be heated when it’s empty, so you can sauté the chicken more effectively with the intense heat. The sturdy flat lid of Bistro Donabe can also give a nice pressure during simmering. The main seasonings are oyster sauce and Ayu Fish Sauce, they bring really nice layers of umami flavors. While most Asian fish sauce (such as nan pla) has distinctive salty flavor, Ayu fish sauce is much more round and richer in umami. You can still use regular Asian fish sauce, but in that case, I suggest you use less amount of it.
For the fried egg, you can use a regular pan, but my choice of equipment is always Donabe Egg Baker. It’s so handy and you can make an individual serving (up to two eggs) fried eggs in a short time.
Servings3 - 4
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 pound (450 g) ground chicken
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) sake
- 1 tablespoon Okinawa black sugar or raw brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Ayu Fish Sauce (can substitute with Asian fish sauce; try with less amount and add more if necessary)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- Sliced dry chili (can substitute with red chili flakes) to taste
- 1 loose cup (240 ml) Thai basil (can substitute with Italian basil)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 – 4 eggs
- 3 – 4 servings cooked white rice or brown rice
- Sauté the garlic, ginger, and shallot with the sesame oil in a donabe until fragrant (1 – 2 minutes) over medium-heat.
- Add the ground chicken and increase the heat to medium-high. Continue to sauté until the chicken is almost cooked through.
- Add the sake and stir, followed by the sugar, Ayu Fish Sauce, and oyster sauce. Stir and bring it to high simmer.
- Cover with the lid and turn down the heat to medium-low. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to almost nothing.
- Add the dry chili and basil and stir. Turn off the heat.
- While the chicken is cooking, make the fried eggs (sunny-side up) in Donabe Egg Baker or a pan. If using a Donabe Egg Baker, coat the inside with a small amount of olive oil and crack one egg into it. Cover with lid and set over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the egg is cooked to your desired consistency. Repeat the process with the remaining eggs.
- To serve, divide the rice into individual bowls/ plates. Cover each scoop of the rice with the basil chicken. Arrange the fried egg on top of the basil chicken. Serve immediately.
Sauté the aromatics in the sesame oil first.
Ground chicken is added.
After all the seasonings are added, the chicken is simmered until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Add a good amount of basil leaves.
The basil chicken is ready.
Donabe Egg Baker can make a really nice fried egg.
In just a couple of minutes over medium heat, it’s ready.
Time to assemble with donabe rice.