Hungry Hubby and I just love Wagamamas. We always order their prawn kushiyaki (and eye each other up suspiciously in case either one of us thinks they are getting the one which is left as they are served in odd numbers) but otherwise, pick almost at random and have almost never been disappointed in doing so.
The only problem is, Wagamama really is pricey for an albeit “healthy” fast food restaurant and we can’t go more than a few times a year. When we recently discovered a new dish that we, somewhat unseemingly, fought over for the last mouthful, I just knew I had to recreate it at home so we could have it much more frequently.
And I’m so delighted this Teriyaki Duck Donburi was so simple to work out.
A “donburi” is a Japanese dish which is served in a large bowl – which is also the literal translation of the word. It always starts with a base of rice but can be topped with various meats and vegetables. It’s good and frugal as the meat can be stretched really far and also, you can use up the veg in your fridge.
This duck donburi starts with cooking some duck legs in teriyaki sauce until they are lacquered with that glorious sauce, the fat has rendered away and the meat fork tender.
If you have only ever bought meats already marinaded in teriyaki sauce or bought a bottle of it, you might be surprised to learn it is simply equal quantities of mirin (a sweet rice wine), soy sauce and saké (you might have already got a bottle of saké in the cupboard from making my Saké Salmon).
Duck legs are a much tougher cut than chicken so they do need 90 minutes in the oven but you can make this ahead, it freezes well and the rest of the dish comes together in a jiffy.
The duck is rich and the teriyaki flavour full on so the rest of the dish is really simple. I think Wagamama’s was giving a nod and a wink to crispy duck pancakes as two of the toppings for the rice were shredded spring onions and finely grated cucumber. And it works superbly well! Shredded mange tout, carrots and a little grated shallot finish the vegetable portion of this donburi.
The unifying element of this dish is a gloriously golden fried egg with a runny yolk that you poke and burst and mix in with the other ingredients for the most wonderful flavour and textural surprise. I cook them in crumpet rings so they come out perfectly round but you can just cook the eggs in a pan without the, of course.
The final element of the dish is the rice. I’ve gone with short grained brown rice which I buy in Holland & Barrett. As I have an Instant Pot for the two of us, I do 1 cup of the rice to 1.25 cups of water then give it 22 minutes and a natural pressure release but you can do it on the stove.
Sticky rice or sushi rice would be my next alternatives; this is one dish I don’t want the perfume of basmati which is my otherwise all time favourite rice. Now go grab a napkin along with your chopsticks and dig into your bowlful of humble ingredients which together, are so much more than just the sum of their parts.
It might take a while to cook the duck legs until tender and crisp but the rewards are so worth it. A little bit indulgent but also full of nutritious brown rice and raw grated vegetables.
- 2 duck legs, skin on
- 125 ml water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp saké
- 1 cup (250ml) short grained brown rice
- 1/3 large cucumber
- 2 shallots, peeled
- 1 medium carrot, julienned
- 1 small handful mange tout, julienned
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagnonal
- 2 large eggs (plus vegetable oil to fry in)
Preheat the oven to 180˚C and find an ovenproof dish just big enough to accommodate the duck and it's sauce.
Score the duck legs right through the skin but not into the meat, several times and place in an ovenproof dish just big enough to accommodate them. Pour in the water around the duck legs. Mix the soy, mirin and saké together and pour over the duck legs. Cook for 90 minutes until crisp skinned but tender within. Baste once halfway through if liked. Take the duck legs out of their cooking juices but reserve them for now.
Cook the rice either 1 cup rice to 1.25 cups water in the Instant Pot for 22 minutes with a NPR *or* do 1 cup rice to 2 cups water on the stove instead (bring to the boil, put the lid on, reduce heat to low and cook for 30-40 minutes until just tender).
For the cucumber and the shallots, grate them and squeeze them separately in some kitchen roll or clean tea towels to remove the excess water. Prep the rest of the veg.
Fry the eggs in a medium hot frying pan with just enough oil to cover the base in a thin layer - you want a slightly frilly bottom but a runny yolk. If using crumpet rings, grease them well too and place in the oil. Runny fried eggs should take about 3-4 minutes.
Before serving, shred the duck with two forks and add a couple of tsp of the cooking juices. You only need half the duck so freeze the rest if not using in the next two days.
To assemble, divide the rice between two large serving bowls. Top with the prepared veg keeping each separate and of course, half the duck per bowl. Place the cooked egg on top and dribble over a little splash of the remaining cooking juices and eat!
- This recipe makes enough teriyaki duck for 4 portions. Spoon a little of the cooking juices onto the duck and freeze in a microwave safe bag. When ready to eat, open the bag and microwave with a little splash of water (about 2 tsp) until piping hot and serve.
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