Donburi, or Japanese rice bowl dish, is the standard quick lunch or dinner in a Japanese household. Sometimes shortened to just “don 丼”, it’s a bowl of rice topped with fish or meat, veggies, and a simple sauce. When you have leftover ingredients you are trying to use up, you can cook donburi for the family.
You may have already tried some of the popular donburi one-bowl dishes like Oyakodon (chicken and egg bowl) and Gyudon (Japanese beef bowl). But if you have access to sashimi-grade seafood, try today’s dish, Avocado & Negitoro Donburi (アボカドネギトロ丼) – one of our family’s all-time-favorite rice bowls.
What is Negitoro?
Negitoro (ネギトロ) is simply the leftover tuna that can’t be sliced nicely into sashimi slices. It’s the deliciously, fatty meat that is scraped off around the bones and off the skin. It’s like a minced tuna that is rich in flavor, but not pretty enough to serve on its own. The negitoro is generally mixed with green onion and added into a rice bowl, to create a popular Japanese comfort food.
Not All Negitoro Comes from Toro
It’s easy to mistake that negitoro comes from toro (the fatty tuna) as the word negitoro seems like it stands for negi (green onion) and toro. And negitoro always includes chopped green onion.
However, it’s actually not true. The word “negitoro” came from the Japanese verb “negitoru” – the action of scraping off the meat around the bones and the skin.
Later on, everyone started to use the word negitoro for the scraped tuna pieces. So, whether it is from toro (fatty tuna), or nakaochi (backbone meat), or akami (red lean tuna), it’s still negitoro.
Since negitoro from fatty tuna of bluefin tuna is hard to come by, you’ll find a combination of negitoro from different tunas (bigeye, yellowfin, and Southern bluefin tuna) and oil (to make it fatty) most of the time instead. Low-quality negitoro is a combination of albacore and yellowfin tuna with oil.
Popular Dishes with Negitoro
- Negitoro Sushi (gunkan-style – the nori is around the rice, looks like a battle fish)
- Negitoro Maki (thin sushi rolls)
- Negitoro Don
Combination of Negitoro & Avocado
You can enjoy negitoro by itself, but tossing in some diced avocado adds an excellent texture, color, and flavor to the rice bowl.
The Delicious Tare (Sauce) for Avocado & Negitoro Donburi
My mother used to make this donburi dish with a light savory tare (sauce) using mentsuyu (noodle soup base) and soy sauce. If you always have your homemade mentsuyu or store-bought bottle of mentsuyu in the refrigerator, whisking together the sauce is a breeze.
Very similar to a poke bowl, this Avocado & Negitoro Donburi is just as simple and satisfying as a happy bowl it could be.
1 avocado (cut into ¼" cubes, see Notes)
1 green onion/scallion (sliced thin if Negitoro pkg didn’t come with green onions)
2 servings cooked Japanese short-grain rice (cook 1 rice cooker cup (180 ml) yields roughly 2 servings (2 US cups); see how to cook short-grain with a rice cooker, a pot over the stove, an instant pot, or a donabe)
¼ cup shredded nori seaweed (kizami nori) (to garnish)
1 tsptoasted white sesame seeds
Seasonings:2 Tbsp mentsuyu/tsuyu (concentrated noodle soup base)
2 tsp soy sauce
2.Serve steamed rice in each bowl, sprinkle some sesame seeds, and let cool. Chop green onion.
3.Slice open the avocado and remove the pit.
4.Cut the avocado into cubes and scoop out the avocado into a bowl.
5.Combine negitoro, avocado, green onion in the bowl. Add soy sauce and mentsuyu and gently mix together without smashing avocado.
6.Sprinkle some shredded nori seaweed and serve the mixture on top. Garnish with more nori and green onion.