The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House Season 1 Episode 2 Vegan Oyakadon
The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House
舞妓さんちのまかないさん A series on Netflix about Food & Friendship set in a Maiko house in Kyoto.
Photo Credit: The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House, 2023. Netflix
From acclaimed filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda
Adapted from the manga series “Kiyo in Kyoto”by Aiko Koyama,
Season 1 Episode 2
Ms Sachiko the house Makanai had to take leave and the girls of the Maiko house are getting sick of ordering take out, so when one of them nearly sets the kitchen on fire Kiyo steps in and offers to be the Makanai. This was the first time Kiyo had expressed the will to do something herself. The girls wonder what will the meal be. One thinks it will be Omurice another raw egg with rice. Sumire points out Kiyo is making Yakodon. They all watch eagerly as Kiyo cooks the onions, meat and egg, she spoons rice into a bowl and tops it with the yakadon egg mixture. “Enjoy everyone” says Kiyo “Ookini” say the girls as they dive into their ordinary but delicious rice bowl, “It’s so tasty it’s comforting”.
You will notice this word is said a lot throughout the series “Ookini” is a regional Kansai dialect meaning thank you and is most often used in Kyoto.
Vegan Oyakodon 親子丼
Vegan chicken & egg rice bowl
Oyakodon (親子丼) translates to parent-and-child (oya-ko) rice bowl (don) being as the dish is made of chicken and egg. It is one of the meals classed as “Japanese home cooked comfort food” This meal is also traditionally served on Mother’s Day in japan. So again has that connection to home.
As this was the first meal kiyo served the house I wanted to make a vegan version.
Recipe for Oyakadon inspired by The Makanai:
Makes one donburi.
Prepare your rice and set to cook.
For this recipe we are using one carton of silken tofu to replace the egg mixture.
To replace the meat I decided to use soy protein pieces depending on the size I used around six pieces rehydrated in water cut into strips and then marinated in a tablespoon each of tamari and mirin with water.
You will also need 1/2 an onion cut into thin strips. I also decided to add some tender stem broccoli for colour, and some sliced shiitake mushrooms.
Drain your tofu and add to a food processor to this add a heaped teaspoon of turmeric and two teaspoons of potato starch. To make an egg flavour you will need to add a teaspoon of powdered kala namak (Himalayan black salt)
The one I have is in its rock form, if you have this you need to grind it into a powder. Add this to your tofu mixture with some black pepper to taste. Process until nice and smooth.
Squeeze the marinade from the soy protein and add to a pan with a little oil, along with the onion and shiitake. Sauté until cooked then pour in your egg mixture. Make sure you keep moving it around so it doesn’t stick. The egg mixture will thicken. Add finally your broccoli if you wish.
Spoon your rice into a bowl and top with the egg mixture, maybe garnishing with some chopped green onion or a few mizuna leaves.
Amulet in the House “Beware of Fire” & Umeboshi Onigiri
Kiyo has a conversation with Ms Sachiko on the phone as she was worried about taking the responsibility of Makanai away from her. However Ms Sachiko is relieved as the commute was becoming too much for her. She points out over the phone about an amulet. It is a paper talisman from Atago Shrine which lasts for one thousand days. It is said if you make the pilgrimage to obtain the amulet from the shrine on a set day each year your fortune will triple and the gods will protect the house from fire for a thousand days. Kiyo decides to be a fully fledged Makanai she needs to make the journey up the mountain to collect the talisman.
Kiyo makes onigiri rice balls with salted pickled plums called umeboshi that are wrapped in crispy nori to take with her. There is a recipe on my Midnight Diner series of recipes for this. Some recipes do cross over, probably because both series have those Japanese home style cooked meals.
Kiyo stops to rest and ends up sharing her onigiri with a family with a young child. Finally Kiyo gets the amulet and on her return Sumire is waiting for her and hands her a gift from the mother of the house, an apron ! Kiyo calls her grandmother to tell her the news.
“From here on out I am the makanai”
More recipes to come in my next The Makanai blog.
If you haven’t already watched it yet
The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House is available for streaming on Netflix.