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If there ever was a Japanese dish that could be classified as "fast-food", the donburi would be it. Literally meaning "bowl", the donburi is appropriately named for the type of dish in which it is served. Take an entrée like seasoned beef or deep-fried pork and lay it on top of a staple like rice--that's your donburi. Not unlike taking an entrée like a hamburger patty and putting it between two buns, or stuffing seasoned meats and vegetables in a flour tortilla, is it? Fast-food can take different forms in different cultures.

Try some of these donburi recipes--we've got a couple of classic Japanese ones and two Western style ones you can try. You're going to love how they bring your rice to life!
This donburi is the most popular of all the bowl dishes in Japan. Thinly sliced beef and onion boiled in a savory-sweet sauce, gently laid out over steaming hot rice--it's definitely habit forming. You'll need the thin-cut beef, which you can get from your butcher or at most Asian supermarkets.
See recipe for
Gyu-Don (Beef Bowl)
Learn this recipe if you like donburi. It will become the basis of dozens of other donburi dishes just by adding different ingredients and toppings to the omelette style egg. The recipe only serves one because it is made one at a time in a single frying pan.
See recipe for
Tamago-Donburi (Egg Bowl)
South meets East? This Creole style gumbo has a spicy kick and dark brown sauce that goes perfectly with rice--not surprising when you consider how popular rice is in our southern states.
See recipe for
Gumbo Bowl
Yes, this recipe is based on the Mexican taco, not the Japanese tako (octopus). Invented in Okinawa, a southern island of Japan with a large American population, this dish combines fresh taco ingredients on a bed of rice, in a bowl! Absolutely loved by both the Japanese and the Americans living on the island.
See recipe for
Taco Rice Bowl
The donburi is hugely popular in Japan--restaurants compete to invent new varieties, offering a plethora of options at very inexpensive prices. Relatively easy to prepare and able to be eaten quickly, it is the ultimate "one-dish" meal that can be enjoyed by busy people on the go, even at railroad station kiosks. Lunch hour in the business districts of Japan are often a hurried meal at the udon/soba noodle shops, which usually have donburi dishes on the menu as well.

For people who have had short grain rice only in sushi, the donburi is the perfect dish to experiment with whatever you think might go with rice. Most donburi recipes have a sauce or gravy that not only flavors the entrée, it makes the plain rice tasty to the last grain in the bowl!
Oyako-Donburi: Adding chicken to this month's recipe, the Tamago-Donburi, makes the Oyako-Donburi, which literally means "parent and child" in Japanese. Appropriate for a chicken and egg dish, don't you think? Tanin-Donburi: Usually made with adding beef to the Tamago-Donburi, the name comes from the word, tanin, which means "stranger". In other words, the beef and the egg are not related! Katsu-Don: Deep fried pork cutlets (Tonkatsu) added to the Tamago-Donburi, a very popular donburi dish. Konoha-Donburi: Again using Tamago-Donburi as the starting point, this dish is made with kamaboko, or Japanese fish cake.
Ten-Don: An abbreviated name for the Tempura-Donburi, this is shrimp and vegetable tempura served with a mildly sweet sauce over hot rice. Try the Zojirushi version here. Una-Don: Broiled eel marinated with a teriyaki type sauce over rice. It is believed that this was the very first donburi, first invented during the Edo period in Japan (early 17th century). Tekka-Don: This one is eaten at room temperature because the key ingredient is tuna (or maguro) sashimi laid out over sushi rice. Usually served with a small mound of wasabi, the donburi style makes it easy to eat. Learn how to make sushi rice here. Kaisen-Don: A more elaborate seafood (Kaisen) donburi, using the various colorful toppings you would normally see on sushi, like tuna, squid, salmon roe, abalone, shrimp, etc. This donburi is also served on sushi rice. Sushi rice recipe here.
Look into our Zojirushi Encyclopedia section to learn more about the Zojirushi rice cookers, how to use them in various cooking styles, and to see the unique features of our own Zojirushi products.
Zojirushi is the first to introduce the keep warm feature on a rice cooker. Zojirushi's first MICOM (microcomputer) rice cooker debuts. Using MICOM technology, Zojirushi introduces different menu settings for cooking different varieties of rice. IH (induction heating) replaces the standard heating element as the better way to heat the cooking urn. The PRESSURE system is introduced as a further advancement to rice cooking technology.
A pressurized system elevates cooking temperatures to higher levels. Rice cooked with pressure has been found to be softer, and stay soft for longer periods of time when compared to regularly cooked rice. Induction Heating (IH) system rice cookers are the cutting edge in heating technology. This enables the rice cooker to make finer temperature adjustments for precise heating. Equipped with a computer chip, the rice cooker can "think" and adjust cooking length and temperatures according to the thermal sensor's calculations. Conventional electric rice cookers, first invented in 1955, are inexpensive and ideal for beginners. To cook white rice, all you do is add rice, water, and push a button.
Kyaraben (Chara-Ben)
Next month we'll feature the fascinating and artistic world of the Character Bento, also known as the Kyaraben (Chara-Ben). Truly as fun to make as they are to eat!