***Psst Houstonians! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a really exciting giveaway!***
By all accounts, only taking three classes this term should make this my easiest, most relaxed few weeks of school ever. Yet working part-time, freelancing some articles, traveling, planning more travel, and making cake for fun bachelorette weekends has made for week after hectic (but enjoyable) week, requiring quick and basic comfort–and preferably healthy–food. Functional food. But most preferably delicious. This oyakodon is pretty much literally a miracle 5-ingredient, one-pan weeknight dinner that fulfills all the above requirements. Five ingredients!
My interest in oyakodon was piqued over winter break when my mom and sister ordered oyakodon at a tiny Japanese corner store in Japantown. Since they only offered the traditional chicken and rice bowl, I shared a tempura shrimp rice bowl with my brother while eyeing their delicious-looking mess of egg and rice and soy sauce. When Cynthia shared her version of oyakodon right after New Years, it couldn’t have been better timing. I’ve made it seven times since and I’d like to believe this is more a testament to the dish’s delicious qualities over my lack of creativity due to brain-sucking distractions.
After making this so many times–and getting subsequently lazier and lazier and leaving out ingredient after ingredient, I ended up with this boiled down version that I keep coming back to–I think it’s just as tasty, and maybe somehow tastes better with just five ingredients and about 15 minutes of cook time? It yields a custardy pan full of a double dose of protein with soft eggs seeping into the crevices of crumbled tofu, laced with silky onions braised in a salty miso broth that goes most excellently on slightly charred toast. It’s just salty and satisfying and SO EASY.
Even though oyakdon is traditionally a rice bowl served with a chicken and egg mixture on top, I figured if I was deviating with tofu, why not deviate from the rice too? I ate this atop rice for dinner the first few times, but after discovering the combination of chilled, straight-from-the-fridge leftovers on sizzling hot toast, it’s become a toasty, savoy breakfast staple as well.
For those of you in Houston looking for something fun to do on Tuesday night, enter my giveaway on Instagram to win a pair of tickets to Houston Press’ Annual Menu of Menus Extravaganza! It’s a seriously fun night full of all-you-can-eat food + drinks from restaurants across Houston. All you have to do is tag a friend in the comments!
Let’s talk about grocery stores!
Last semester, we did a case in business school that looked at ALDI, a global discount grocery store that earned its business case thanks to its uber-efficient operations and interesting strategic growth. So when Bon Appetit reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in participating in ALDI’s blogger challenge to create a meal for $10 using only ALDI ingredients, I was probably more excited than I should be to finally check out this superhuman equivalent of a grocery store.
It was pretty much everything I expected–trim, minimalist, efficient–but also WAY cheaper than I expected. My favorite gourmet trail mix was $5! Organic black beans for under a dollar! Wild-caught salmon fillets for $3.89! I loved that they don’t have any bags in store (you have to bring your own or buy their reusable ones) and that they require you to put in a $0.25 deposit to get a shopping cart. The whole idea behind ALDI is cutting out all extraneous costs to lower consumer prices, so the shopping cart deposit, for example, helps keep costs low by eliminating time spent retrieving carts.
This flatbread was inspired by (1) their organic quinoa (only $3.99!) and (2) this no-bake summer quinoa pizza, except this flatbread is decidedly more fall in its garlic butter mushrooms + zucchini toppings. But you can dress it up however you like–I imagine this could be a really fun family meal if you cooked up individual flatbreads and let everyone add their toppings of choice. Using white quinoa instead of red quinoa (called for in the summer quinoa pizza) makes for a softer, doughier “crust,” which is why I’m calling this a flatbread instead of a pizza. Either way, it’s a delicious, super economical way to get a boatload of nutrients into your meal!
Here’s what I bought at ALDI to make this meal (assuming you have olive oil and spices in your pantry):
Organic quinoa (16 oz): $3.99
Zucchini (pack of 2): $1.59
1 container white mushrooms: $0.69
1 can Great Northern Beans: $0.59
Garlic (bundle of 3 heads): $1.12
Butter (1 lb): $2.99
Total, the ingredients add up to $10.97, but if you only count the portions of each item that you’ll use in the recipe, the total comes out to more like $5.17! For a meal that serves four!! Talk about perfect student budget food.
PS. I’m off to Istanbul this week! Let me know if the comments if you have any suggestions for things to do there. Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is for sure on the schedule, but other than that, our itinerary is pretty open! Obviously food recs are HIGHLY encouraged as well
Come onnnnnn weekend. I ate a lot of cookies last night. Let’s face plant into a bowl of vegetables.
Sarah B. recently talked about how a hit of acid (not that kind you fuh-reak!) is necessary in every dish. I—pause please while I shovel another pile of pickled vegetables into my mouth—couldn’t agree more. Tanginess in addition to crunchiness makes carrots 898237x more interesting. The number two reason I’m obsessing over these bibimbap-inspired bowls is because of the pickled vegetables. The number one is the rice.
Once or twice a year, I get struck by an insatiable, somewhat crippling craving for dumplings.