Rice Bowls have gotten very popular and come in endless types. But I’ve loved rice bowls long before they became all the rage. If you’re not familiar with rice bowls they’re basically a bowl of rice topped with pretty much anything you want. My favorite ones are Japanese Donburis.
Donburi is a rice bowl dish served in a bowl which in Japan are also called “donburi”. There are many different types of Donburi but the most popular ones are Tempura Donburi or better known as Tendon if it’s made with shrimp, Chicken or Pork Katsu Donburi also called Katsudon. You’ll also find Tempura Donburi with fish and vegetable tempuras, Teriyaki, and other types of popular Japanese dishes. Another basic ingredient of most Donburi dishes is egg meaning veggies and other ingredients are scrambled with eggs and a donburi sauce which is then placed on a bed of rice and topped with a desired tempura, katsu, or a preferred protein including teriyaki beef or chicken.
My long time favorite is Tendon or Shrimp Tempura Donburi. I’ve been enjoying this rice bowl since I first discovered it while I was in high school. I also like the Katsudon!
I’ve always been able to get my Tendon from most Japanese restaurants in my area, and since I live in Hawaii my neighborhood grocery store. But when the pandemic locked us down for a month I decided to try and make it at home, after all it’s just shrimp tempura, eggs, Kamaboko (fish cake) and veggies over a bed of rice. How hard could that be?
Making Tendon is actually pretty easy but it does require making Shrimp Tempura. Since I must make the tempura batter for the shrimp I also make vegetable tempura with zucchini, green beans, and pretty much what I have on hand.
Another important part of this or any Donburi is the sauce. The sauce is made with Mirin (a Japanese rice wine used for cooking), soy sauce, dashi (fish stock) and sugar. This give the dish it’s sweet salty taste that make it delicious! You can find all the ingredients at an Asian market. The Dashi usually is in powder form like boullion so you’ll have to mix it as directed to get the liquid stock.
Of course the “star” of this dish is the Shrimp Tempura. You can either use a tempura mix also found at the Asian market, or you can make your own batter. Either way the most important things to remember to make perfect tempura batter is to use ice cold water and to not over stir the batter, it needs to have some lumps in it. In fact the best way to stir this batter is with chopsticks, so leave your whisk or electric mixers out of it.
So here’s the recipe for both Shrimp Tempura (it’s the same batter for fish or vegetable tempura) and the Donburi itself. This recipe makes 2 bowls.
Ingredients for the Tempura
1 Cup Flour, shifted
1 Cup water
Ice cubes for chilling water
4 Large Shrimp – shelled and deveined but leave the tail on, pat dry with paper towel
Cut vegetables – zucchini, green beans, etc. (optional)
1/8 Cup flour
Oil for frying
Ingredients for Sauce:
6 Tbs. Mirin
2 Tbs. Soy Sauce
3 Tbs. Liquid Dashi – mix Dashi powder as directed on the box
2 Tbs. Sugar
Ingredients for Donburi:
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 Onion, sliced
1/2 Cup Shitake Mushrooms (optional)
1/2 Kamaboko, cut into thin strips (optional)
1/3 Cup Green Onions, chopped (optional)
1 Tbs. Oil
2 Cups Cooked White Rice
Seaweed flakes (optional)
Directions to make Tempura:
Place about 2″ of oil in a pot and start to heat while you prepare the batter.
Place shifted flower in a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl slightly beat egg – beat until yolk and white is just combined.
Add ice to water until the water is chilled.
Remove ice and pour water in the bowl with the beaten egg.
Mix gently together.
Stir in flour, do not over mix there should be lumps in the batter. Use right away, if for some reason you can’t use it immediately place in the refrigerator for a few minutes until you’re ready to fry.
Place 1/8 cup of flour in a dish.
Test the oil temperature by dropping a small bit of batter in oil, if oil bubbles around the batter the oil is ready.
Roll shrimp or vegetable in the dish of flour, shake off excess.
Dip in batter, let excess batter drip off before adding into hot oil.
Place battered shrimp and veggies in hot oil to fry. Do not over crowd the pot, cook in batches if you have to.
Turn as needed to cook all sides. Tempura is done when the shrimp or vegetable starts to float.
Drain on rack and set aside.
Directions for the sauce:
Mix all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside until needed.
Directions for the Donburi:
Heat oil in a skillet.
Saute onions in skillet until it starts to go limp and clear
Add in Kamoboko, mushrooms, and green onions (reserve some as garnish if desired)
Cook about 3-4 minutes.
Add in Donburi Sauce and simmer for 1 minute.
Pour beaten egg over all and cook until egg is done.
Place 1 Cup of rice in each bowl.
Cute the Egg mixture in half and place a half over each bowl of rice.
Top with Shrimp and Vegetable (if you made some) Tempura and garnish with green onions and seaweed flakes