Delicious Japanese rice bowl with pork in 15 minutes and all made in one pan! Rich flavoured sauce with miso, soy sauce, butter and garlic is paired so well with plain cooked rice! So just be careful not over eat.
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!
What is Japanese rice bowl?
Japanese rice bowl dishes are Katsu (deep-fried breadcrumbed pork, chicken and shrimps etc.), Chicken, Eggs (oyako), Gyudon (braised beef), raw seafood, and fried tofu etc served on a bed of plain cooked Japanese rice. They are typically served in pottery bowls called “donburi” which is larger than an ordinary Japanese rice bowl. Famous donburi dish chain shops such as Yoshinoya and Sukiya, use a regular bowl size of about 5.5-6 inch (14-15cm) in diameter and 3 inches (8cm) high.
So this Japanese rice bowl recipe uses pork. Pork is “Buta” in Japanese and so this dish is called “Buta-don”. Pork has a light flavour, it goes well with rich and heavy flavours like butter, miso, soy sauce and garlic. I used lettuce but thinly sliced cabbage goes as well as lettuce. You can also replace lettuce or cabbage with wombok as well. My Japanese taste buds assured me that the holy trinity of Miso, Soy Sauce, and Butter would result in a fantastic meal, without me needing to consult my flavour bible (a.k.a. cookbook). I sliced the meat into small strips, searing them in a frying 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.
Plain cooked rice – learn how to cook rice perfectly like Japanese cook in this post.
Pork fillets – I used fillets but you can also use other thinly sliced cuts.
Lettuce, shredded cabbage, or Chinese cabbage,
butter, miso paste, soy sauce and garlic, and oil to cook
How to Make Japanese Rice Bowl?
If you have already cooked rice, Japanese rice bowl dishes can be made quickly. That is why Japanese rice bowl dishes are a popular go-to lunch or dinner Japanese busy mothers cook. They are Japanese fast foods also! So how to cook it? First, slice the pork to your liking (if it is not sliced already). I like tender fillet and slice it to about 0.4 inches (1 cm). Heat oil in a frying pan and fry a side of pork for about 1.5 minutes each. Remove pork from the frying pan and transfer it to a plate and cover it with an aluminium sheet. Put the same frying pan back on medium heat. Add butter and garlic. When the garlic fragrant, add the rest of the condiment to make the sauce. Serve rice in donburi, scatter lettuce over the rice. Place pork over the lettuce and pour the sauce over. Enjoy!
How to Eat Japanese Rice Bowl?
Japanese use chopsticks to eat Japanese rice bowl dishes though some use a spoon like Japanese kitchen cutlery called “renge(ren-gae)”. So you can eat with a spoon or a fork. Of course, if you would like to practice see this post “how to use chopsticks“.
Tips & Tricks
- Fry both sides of pork fillet for about one and half minutes and cook through the pork with residual heat by wrapping the plate with a sheet of aluminium.
- Use the same pan that you cooked pork to make the sauce so that you don’t lose the umami of the pork.
What to Serve With?
Pork has a light flavour however the sauce is quite rich. So Japanese rice bowl dish can often be the main meal and you only need a small bowl of soup such as Japanese clear soup, miso soup, and egg drop soup, or small side dishes such as pickled daikon, Daikon and carrot pickles, Asian cucumber salad, cucumber sunomono and nukaduke rice bran pickle etc.
More Donburi Japanese Rice Bowl Recipes
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- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup lettuce leaves
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- １ tsp miso paste *1
- 300 g pork fillet
- a pinch salt and pepper
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 20 g butter
- 3 cups plain steamed rice
- Peel the garlic and slice very thinly. Set aside.
- Wash the lettuce thoroughly and tear into small pieces. Set aside.
- Combine soy sauce and miso paste and 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 and half minutes one side then flip over the pork fillets and cook further one and half 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 the combined soy sauce and miso 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.