Zuke-don – Marinated Tuna Over Steamed Rice

June 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm 2 comments

To conclude the tale of our weekend in Tokyo, Hisa and I woke up surprisingly early Sunday morning considering we didn’t get to bed the previous night until after 1am. Habit is a cruel mistress…

We had breakfast at our hotel, checked out, and headed out to Yasukuni Shrine.

For those who don’t know, there’s huge controversy surrounding Yasukuni Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to Japanese soldiers and others who died fighting for the Japanese Emeror. Mainly this consists of soldiers and government officials who died during wars. The controversy stems from the fact that there are convicted war criminals from WWII amongst all those enshrined.

Now, enshrinement is decided by whoever the current Shinto priests of the shrine are, and it is all completely separate from the government. In other words, the government has no say in who is enshrined and who is not. The more recent controversy is that several important Japanese cabinet members and prime ministers have made visits to the shrine, causing protests and outrage in Japan and abroad (mainly China and South Korea). Those who protest tend to see it as supporting Japanese nationalism and a denial of the war crimes committed during WWII by the enshrined war criminals. The Japanese politicians who’ve made the visits, however, see it as paying respect to and remembering the over two million war dead of Japan from several wars.

So there’s the history of the controversy surrounding Yasukuni Shrine in a nut shell for ya. Despite all that though, it’s a pretty cool shrine.

This is the entrance to the shrine. You can’t really tell so much from the picture, but the gate is huge!

It actually took quite awhile to reach the actual shrine. We had to pass through the first gate, walk for awhile, pass this statue, walk, pass through another huge gate, and then we finally reached the actual shrine (which I sadly forgot to take a picture of *cough*).

To the right of this picture, past all those trees, there was an antique flea market going on, so after we saw the shrine, Hisa and I spent quite awhile looking at the stuff people were selling. It was definitely the coolest antique flea market I’ve been to. People were selling everything from old Japanese movie posters to antique kimono to samurai armor and katanas. Seriously. It was awesome.

After leaving the market, we randomly found a little Italian restaurant and decided to have lunch there. It ended up being really really good, and we both left really really full. By this time, however, our feet were in extreme pain from walking so much, and we were exhausted from the little sleep we’d had, so we headed back home (plus we had to do grocery shopping for the week when we got back). All in all, it was a really fun weekend.

*        *        *

In Japanese cuisine, there’s a particular type of dish called “donburi“. Basically it’s something served on top of steamed rice in a deep bowl. Actually the name of the bowl you serve it in is called donburi, but it also refers to the food as well.

I love donburi. It’s one of my favorite Japanese comfort foods. There are so many different kinds, and they’re all so good! There’s oyakodon (simmered chicken and egg over rice), unadon (grilled eel over rice), gyudon (simmered beef and onion over rice), katsudon (breaded and fried pork cutlet, onions, and egg simmered together and served over rice), negitorodon (minced tuna and spring onions over rice), etc. There are several others, but those are my personal favorites, hehe.

The other night for dinner, however, I made zuke-don, marinated raw slices of tuna served over rice, usually with diced shiso (in English, Perilla, a type of herb) and whatever else you want to add. It’s a really simple, but really delicious and healthy dish.

I served our zuke-don with shredded perilla leaves, lettuce, and sesame seeds on top. Other good toppings are sliced avacado, sliced green onions, and shredded laver seaweed. Also you can make the dish with regular steamed rice, but I think it tastes much better with sushi rice.

Zuke-don (serves two)

  • 2 donburi bowl portions of steamed white rice (short grain), about 3 c. or however much floats your boat. Using sushi rice is optional.
  • enough raw tuna for two people, about 5 1/2 ounces (purchase only tuna meant for being eaten raw or really fresh tuna from the fish market)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking sake
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin
  • About 4 perilla leaves (shiso), thinly sliced
  • wasabi
  • 2 Tbsp. parched sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  1. Slice the tuna into thin slices.
  2. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine soy sauce, sake, and mirin. Add tuna slices to bowl and mix so tuna slices are all covered with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 10 – 20 minutes.
  3. Add rice to two donburri bowls (or any large, deep individual serving bowl). Arrange tuna slices on top of rice. Add sliced perilla leaves on top of tuna. Garnish with a small dab or wasabi, sesame seeds, and sliced green onion as you like. Serve with miso soup.





Entry filed under: Japanese food, Recipes, Seafood. Tags: , , , , , .

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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