Brown Rice Donburi Bowl

Brown Rice Donburi

This is my own healthy version of Donburi, a traditional Japanese “rice bowl dish”, enjoyed by many in Japan as a staple dish. It consists of a delicious steaming bowl of rice served with one or two portions of protein: egg, fish, meat or vegetables. Donburi has many interpretations, so use your own choice of protein and feel free to add in your own favourite flavours such as ginger or wasbi (for the brave). I like to serve it with a poached egg on top, together with some lean meat or fish for a perfectly filling and tasty lunch or supper. Here I’ve used poached chicken, but it’s equally delicious with fish (salmon, tuna, prawns), lean pork or beef, or fried Shiitake mushrooms for an equally flavoursome vegetarian option.

A note on cooking rice:

Whenever you are cooking with rice, do make sure that you rinse it well in a sieve under the tap first, until the water runs clear (in this recipe, do this before you put it on to soak). This removes some of the arsenic that is naturally found in rice (albeit in small amounts!). Cooking in ample water, and then draining, rather than cooking until all the water has been absorbed, also helps. Reference paper can be found here:

Makes 2 bowls

  • 200g of short grain brown rice – soaked 12-14 hours
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos or tamari
  • 1½ tbsp toasted sesame, sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 2 eggs, poached or soft boiled (see below)
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated or cut into matchsticks
  • ½ a sheet of nori – optional


  1. If you have your own perfect way to cook rice use that. Otherwise, rinse the soaked rice well then cover in ample water, bring to the boil, lower and simmer for about 20 minutes or until soft, thoroughly drain in a sieve, put back in the hot pan for 30 seconds to evaporate off any remaining liquid, turn off the heat cover and leave to steam for a further 5-10 minutes.
  2. Combine the warm rice with the coconut aminos or tamari, sesame oil and 1 tbsp seeds (save the rest for garnish) and a pinch of salt. Keep a lid on it, so it stays warm.
  3. Meanwhile, get everything else ready – poach or soft boil the eggs and finely cut the nori into thin strips with scissors. Assemble the dish in two bowls, starting with rice, topped with chicken, an egg, carrot, spring onion, seeds and nori.

The perfect poached egg

The fresher the egg the better it poaches

In a non-stick sauce pan, add 3-4cm of water and a splash of cider vinegar. Bring to just under boiling point. Crack your egg into a small dish, then, using a spoon, make a swirl in the water and slip the egg into the eye of the swirl. Cook at a gentle simmer for 2 ½ minutes. Remove with slotted spoon, drain and serve.


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