Liven Up Your Menus

Many Americans today have a strong desire to sample the cuisines of other countries. To help us in our flavor quest, supermarkets are now stocked with a wonderful assortment of international foods, making it easy to experience novel tastes from around the world. Certain foods that are used globally -; eggs, for example -; help bridge the gap between comfortingly familiar and excitingly new and are a great way to start a culinary exploration.

Some flavor combinations from the classic cuisines of different countries are tried and true in their native lands and have become more and more favored here. For example, many of us have enjoyed Chinese cuisine through dishes like fried rice, a one-pan meal made of cooked rice, vegetables, maybe meat, too, with scrambled eggs binding the mixture together and a soy-based sauce seasoning all.

In the same way, we can savor the flavor of Japan with dishes like Japanese Chicken and Egg on Rice. The Japanese name, Oyako Donbui, means 'mother and child' or 'parent and child' bowl, which refers to the use of both chicken and eggs in the dish. As this popular meal-in-a-bowl is often made for lunch out of leftovers, it doesn't always include chicken. When topped with shrimp tempura, it's called tendon (tempura bowl) and when made with a breaded pork cutlet, it's katsudon or tonkatsudon, and serves as a workingman's meal. With chicken, pork or shrimp, it's quick to make for lunch or dinner.

It's a snap to liven up your menus with an international flair when you serve eggs. Start with Japanese Chicken and Egg on Rice, Oyako Donbui. Then, take a taste trip throughout Asia with the recipes in the 100+-page Asian 'Eggs'pressions cookbooklet, which includes a treasure trove of information on various Asian cuisines and ingredients. For your copy, send a check or money order for $4.50 to: The incredible edible egg #91, P. O. Box 755, Park Ridge, IL 60068-0755.

Japanese Chicken and Egg

on Rice

(Oyako Donbui)

4 servings (about 3 cups)

1 to 1 1/3 cups dry medium-grain rice

1 1/2 cups dashi or fat-free,

reduced-sodium chicken

broth

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon lite soy sauce

1 half skinless, boneless

chicken breast (6 oz.),

cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow

onion (lengthwise)

2 large dried shiitake

mushrooms (about

0.25 oz.), softened and cut into strips

1 ounce green onions with

tops, thinly sliced diago-

nally (about 1/3 cup)

3 eggs, lightly beaten

Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.

In 10-inch omelet pan or skillet over medium-high heat, bring dashi to boiling. Stir in sugar and soy sauce. Add chicken, yellow onion and mushrooms. Return to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmering. Cook until chicken is just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add green onions. Slowly pour eggs over broth surface, covering as much as possible. Do not stir. Cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. As outer edges of eggs begin to set, lift cooked portions to center of pan, keeping eggs in large, soft curds as much as possible. Continue cooking, stirring just as needed, until no visible liquid egg remains.

Ladle egg mixture into deep soup bowls over reserved hot rice.

Nutrition information per serving of 1/4 recipe using fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth: 343 calories, 5 gm total fat, 184 mg cholesterol, 441 mg sodium, 289 mg potassium, 53 gm carbohydrate, 20 gm protein and 10% or more of the RDI for niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, phosphorus, zinc. - NU

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About The Author, Rodney Wright