Start your week with this delicious Japanese comfort rice dish, Niratama donburi. Soft fluffy egg stir fry with Chinese chive served over white rice. Easy & fuss-free!
Mondays are short days for my children. I go pick them up from school at 12:30 pm and come straight home. While they are changing out of their uniforms, I usually make some quick lunch for us if we don’t have any leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.
For a while, their favorite was this quick dish called Niratama Donburi (ニラ玉丼ぶり), or Chive and Egg Rice Bowl.
Niratama literally means garlic chives (nira) and egg (tama shorten for tamago). Sometimes we add a little bit of thinly sliced pork (buta) and that’s called Buta Niratama (豚ニラ玉).
Eggs and garlic chives are cooked on high heat till fluffy outside and still soft inside. We like to eat it as a single main dish, so we serve it over steamed rice. The chives I use for this dish are garlic chives (or sometimes called Chinese/Asian chives) and different from the chives used as herbs in Western cuisines.
Niratama Donburi – Perfect One Bowl Rice Dish
I don’t quite know how to explain the flavor, but this simple one bowl rice dish is really, really delicious. The first time I made this for my husband, he had a strange look on his face. When I told him the dish I was making, he didn’t believe the combination would work and definitely thought it would not taste good. After the first bite, his eye sparkled and said, “wow, the flavor is so unexpected and so good, can you please make this more often?” The gentle hint of garlic chive mixed with the fluffy egg and rice complement each other really well.
I think most non-Japanese never heard of or seen this dish before because we eat this at home rather than at a restaurant. This is one of the recipes that I cook to use up the big bundle of garlic chives. Here in the U.S., garlic chives come in a big fat bundle. I don’t mind a big head of lettuce but garlic chives… I can’t eat it every single day. So if you got a bunch of garlic chives at home and not sure what to make, try this recipe! With carb, protein, and fiber, it makes a perfect one bowl rice dish.
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Niratama Donburi (Chive and Egg Rice Bowl)
- 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 1 tsp sake
- ½ tsp soy sauce
- ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc) (You will need enough oil to make the egg "fluffy". When the egg is added to the hot oil, the egg immediately fluffs up. Without oil, it may stick to the wok/pan.)
- 1.5 oz garlic chives (Chinese chives or Nira) (rinsed and pat dry)
- 2 servings cooked Japanese short-grain rice (1 rice-cooker-cup (180 ml) yields roughly 2 servings (1.75 US cups); see how to cook short-grain rice with a rice cooker, a pot over the stove, an instant pot, or a donabe)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Combine eggs, sake, soy sauce, salt, and black pepper in the medium bowl and mix (but do not over mix).
- Cut the garlic chives into 2” (5 cm) pieces.
- Heat ½ Tbsp oil in a wok over high heat and cook the bottom white part of garlic chives until wilted. Then add the green part and quickly stir fry. If you add meat/seafood, add oil and cook it first and transfer to a plate. Put back into the wok/pan with egg mixture later on.
- Transfer the garlic chives into the bowl with the egg mixture.
- Heat the remaining oil into the wok over high heat. When the wok is hot (smoke is coming off the wok), add the egg and garlic chive mixture into the wok. The egg mixture will get fluffy around the edges. Mix the center of the egg mixture and gently fold.
- When the egg is almost cooked, put rice in a serving plate/bowl and transfer the egg with garlic chives over the rice.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for 2 weeks.