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Buta Don (sometimes spelled Butadon or Buta-don) is a quick and delicious Japanese dish that only requires a few ingredients, and can be cooked in under 15 minutes if you already have leftover plain cooked rice.
It is a meal perfect for those times when you need something super delicious but quick and easy to prepare …like when my hungry son drops in from out of the blue!
In fact, when my son came by I had been thinking about how I should cook some pork fillet which I bought from the local market on the weekend. Last week I had whipped up Donna Hay’s Sticky Plum Sauce which was delicately spiced with Cinnamon and Star Anise for a lovely pork roast, and (miraculously) I still had some sauce left over. I thought maybe I could just quickly use this to create something similar with the pork fillet steak? Unfortunately, my son does not like the idea of fruit in savoury meat dishes…
My next thought was Sweet and Sour Pork but it takes quite a while to cook (a lot more than 15 minutes anyway). So, I reexamined my fridge, and saw that I had lettuce and garlic, and I was struck by inspiration. I decided to make a popular donburi dish like you would get from a take away shop in Japan.
I was transported back in time to my old training days as a young nurse over 25 years ago. I was living in a hospital dormitory, and while our dorm rooms provided meals, we were still the typical hungry students who would often would cook something a little extra ourselves after the kitchen was closed! Our go-to base for an easy meal was soy sauce and butter, making something like Yaki Onigiri. I have shared Miso Butter Yaki Onigiri with you before, but we made this flavour combination often as well.
My Japanese taste buds assured me that the holy trinity of Miso, Soy Sauce, and Butter would result in a fantastic meal, with out me needing to consult my flavour bible (a.k.a. cookbook). I sliced the meat into small strips, searing them in a fry pan for 1-2 minutes on both side, and then letting them rest off the heat, but covered with aluminium foil to keep them nice and moist. Meanwhile, I quickly made the sauce, and served the crisp lettuce, juicy pork, and succulent sauce over some fluffy cooked rice. There are many different variations of Buta Don in Japan, but personally I think this flavour combination is the best.
My son certainly loved it and off went to University for a lecture with a full tummy and a happy heart.
- 3 cups plain steamed rice
- 300 g pork fillet
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup lettuce leaves
- a pinch salt and pepper
- 2 tsp plive oil
- 20 g butter
- 1 tsp soy sauce
Peel the garlic and slice very thinly. Set aside.
Wash the lettuce thoroughly and tear into small pieces. Set aside.
Slice the pork fillet into about 1cm thick slices, making sure to season with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a frying pan over med-high heat.
Place the pork fillet in the heated frying pan. Cook about 2 minutes one side then flip over the pork fillets and cook another 2 minutes.
Turn the heat off, and transfer the pork fillet from the frying pan to a plate.
Cover the plate with aluminium foil to rest.
Put the frying pan back on medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 1- 2 minutes until the garlic become golden brown and crunchy.
Add 20 g butter and 1 tsp soy sauce to the pan bring to bubble.
Serve rice in a donburi bowl, scattering the lettuce, and placing the cooked pork fillets on top.
Drizzle the garlic soy sauce butter over the pork and rice.
Garnish with chopped green shallots or chives.