Braised Ground Veal over Rice

Soboro Don

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

Soboro means “fine-crumb” and refers to the texture of the ground meat, while don or domburi tells you that the food is being served over steamed white rice. Hearty, unfussy food like domburi dishes are popular menu items in casual eateries and in homes throughout Japan.

In Japan, soboro is usually made from ground, raw chicken, which is the most common item in the meat case of any supermarket there. Here in the United States, it’s nearly impossible to find and a nuisance to make. In trying to capture the homey satisfaction of the original dish, I experimented with several ideas before choosing ground veal. I found the addition of ginger juice perked up the veal, making the soboro richly colored, moist, and intensely flavorful. This appealing main course is simple to prepare and can be made in less than 15 minutes.


  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ginger juice (extracted from freshly grated ginger)
  • 3 cups hot cooked rice; reheated leftovers are fine
  • 8 fresh snow peas (optional)


In a 9-inch skillet, combine the meat with the sugar, rice wine, and soy sauce. Stir slightly to mix well. Over medium heat, cook the mixture, stirring constantly to break up large lumps of meat. At first the liquid will be plentiful and quite cloudy; it will begin to clear after 4– 5 minutes. Add the ginger juice and stir well. Continue to cook, uncovered, for 4–5 more minutes until nearly all the liquid has reduced.

Divide the rice among four deep dishes. Spread one quarter of the meat mixture over each portion of rice, covering it so as not to leave any white peeking through.

If you like, string the snow peas and blanch for a few seconds in boiling salted water. On each snow pea, trim and discard a small V-shaped wedge from one end to make a leaf pattern. Arrange two snow pea “leaves” in the center of each portion of braised meat.