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Oyakodon is a famous Japanese dish originating in Tamahid in 1891. What makes it so famous is the sweet and savory egg topping. Usually consisting of eggs, chicken, onion and a sweet broth. A good Oyakodon is freshly prepared right before serving. Doing it in one fell swoop is critical. However, modern pans are not designed to do this. Often time it will tear and make a mess. To make thing easier, the Japanese have designed a pan specifically for making Oyakodon, the Oyako Pan.
How to Use a Oyakodon Pan
The issue that most people face is sliding the egg mixture properly. What you want is a nice circular shape that fits the Donburi (bowl). With a normal frying pan, you might get some off but it will most likely tear.
Oyako Pan works because it has low sides and a handle that point straight up. This low side is tall enough to hold the egg mixture, yet short enough so it wont get in the way.
The handle is also designed to help in plating. Since it points straight up, all you need to do is put the pan over the bowl and tilt the back towards you. If you want, you can also do it side to side. However, I find that tilting it forward and pulling it back is the easiest method.
It seems that a lot of cooks scramble the egg mixture before serving. Please dont do that, a good oyakodon should be one whole piece, kind of like a open omelette. I see a lot of street vendor Oyakodon, they seem to break it up on purpose. I am guessing it is to reduce the amount of failure rate. Cant really serve a customer a badly made one if its all broken.
Since this dish is not popular in the states, our options are limited. You can either get one is stainless steel or aluminum. In terms of durability, the stainless steel model are better. They are more rigid and less prone to warping. You can also use it on a induction hob.
The other aluminum variety is more common. It conducts heat better than stainless steel but it is relatively soft. The metal will flex easily and can warp under high heat. However, if you always keep liquid in the pot, the chance of this happening is lower.
I recommend that you get one with the lid. This gives you the option to cook the egg a little more well done. Although in Japan, the eggs should be slightly under cooked.
Oyakodon Pan List
Below you will find a list of some of the best Oyakodon Pan. Since the options are limited in the states, we are in a seller market. Nonetheless, these are still pretty well made and should do the job.
PEARL Donburi Petite Pan for Katsudon Oyakodon 160mm H-692 (Best Overall)
Pearl pan is made of aluminum with a wooden lid. The good thing about this model is that it comes with a matching lid. Other models require you to find your own lid. There are two weak point, the handle durability and the rigidity of the pan. There have been some complaints that the handle can come off. Another issue is that it can get warped, but you can still technically use it.
Kotobuki Japanese Stainless Steel Donburi Pan (Best Stainless Steel Option)
If you have a induction hob or just one something more durable, then consider stainless steel. It has the same great wooden handle but it does not come with a lid. You have to purchase it separately. Since stainless steel is less likely to warp than aluminum, it will hold its shape better.
If you love Oyakodon and plan on eating it regularly, then a specialized pan might be for you. It helps you keep the whole egg intact and makes plating easier. Since options are limited, you kind of only have two choice. Luckily they both work. If you want something more durable that works on induction, then consider the stainless steel option. However, the Aluminum model with a lid is also a great option and one of the better bargain.
Want more Japanese cookware? Check out our article on the Best Yukihira Saucepan.