Say you’re craving Japanese food, and most people will automatically think of sushi. Maybe ramen, or udon, but almost never a bowlful of rice garnished with ground meat. At least, that’s been my personal experience, even as a lover of all things from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Soboro donburi, also known as soboro don, is a traditional Japanese dish of lightly seasoned ground chicken served over a bed of warm sushi rice. Yes, it does have a deep rooted history in the national cuisine, dating back to the Meiji era (1868-1912) as the nation became industrialized and homemakers had less time to dabble about in the kitchen. A complete bowl-in-one was highly appealing, along with the minimalist composition that allowed these comforting meals to come together quickly and affordably.
In the spirit of thrift, any type of ground protein is a reasonable substitute that still rings true to the original concept, which is why my meatless soboro is as authentically Japanese as any other yoshoku.
Commonly accompanied by scrambled eggs and a simple green vegetable, it’s unfussy everyday fare that follows more of a blueprint than hard and fast recipe. For anyone else seeking a bite of comfort in a pinch, consider this your new go-to.
Meatless Soboro Donburi
This classic yoshoku (Western-style Japanese food) bowl-in-one gets a meatless, eggless upgrade. It's an easy, healthy, and deeply comforting meal you can whip up on the fly, with pretty much anything you have on hand.
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 12 Ounces Meatless Ground Beef, Crumbled Seitan, or Rehydrated TVP
- 3 Tablespoons Mirin*
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 8 Ounces Extra-Firm Tofu, Drained and Crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon Vegan Mayonnaise
- 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kala Namak (Black Salt)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
- 4 Cups Cooked Sushi Rice
- 1 Cup Green Peas, Snow Peas, or Green Beans, Lightly Steamed
- Starting with the soboro, set a medium skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once shimmer, add your meatless protein of choice and use your spatula to break it up. Brown thoroughly, sauteing for 8 - 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with mirin and soy sauce, scraping the bottom of make sure there's nothing sticking; those are the most flavorful bits! Sprinkle the ginger evenly over the top, and stir to incorporate. Continue to cook for 2 - 3 more minutes until there's no liquid remaining.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tofu egg by crumbling the tofu into a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 - 4 minutes, pausing every minute to stir, until heated all the way through. Once piping hot, add the mayo, onion powder, garlic powder, kala namak, and turmeric, stirring vigorously to incorporate. The mixture should be a even shade of golden yellow throughout.
- To serve, divide the cooked rice between four bowls. Top with equal amounts of the soboro, tofu egg, and steamed green vegetable. Dig in!
*Mirin can be substituted with an equal amount of sake plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 604Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1414mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 6gSugar: 18gProtein: 43g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.
6 thoughts on “Bowl-In-One”
Thats a nice dish for lunch! quite vibrant too
When I visited Mitsuwa in Torrance while in SoCal visiting our daughter and her husband, I was thrilled to get several enormous bowls of gyudon. I know, it has beef, but it’s SO good! You version of donburi look really good as well. I was also trilled to get some daifuku finally. Have to admit that I ate the one I got for you. Sorry. If we ever meet, I’ll try to bring one. I’m driving to Illinois next week and plan a visit to the Mistsuwa (much bigger) in Arlington Heights. Such riches of goodness.
That’s wonderful! And I’m glad that you ate that daifuku on my behalf; I can enjoy that vicariously, and I have a feeling it wouldn’t last too long otherwise. ;) Someday, I do hope we can enjoy daifuku together. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in Mitsuwa! I miss having access to such a wealth of Japanese specialties. Austin has many things, but not that one, sadly.
I’ll have another one for you in Illinois. I was so excited when I saw there was one so close to where our daughter and son-in-law live because we suffer from the same dearth of Japanese food. There’s a very large Chinese grocery not too far away that has all sorts of things from other countries but no daifuku or gyudon or wonderful food court. A new one is opening soon, 99 Market I think it’s called and it’s supposed to be the largest Asian store in the US. I’m hoping they’ll have Japanese goodies there. We’ll see.
Wow, this looks wonderful! Such a fun idea for office lunches that we can’t wait to try. Thank you!
[…] restaurant in the US and remains every bit as groundbreaking today. No one else is making meatless soboro or Tokyo masala, but you can also build your own bowl to include exactly the toppings you crave. […]