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Discover the Extraordinary Twist of Japan’s Chicken Doria: A Gratin Like No Other

Japan’s Chicken Doria: A unique twist on gratin

Comfort foods have a way of transporting us back to cherished memories and evoking a sense of contentment. While comfort foods can vary from place to place, they often share common characteristics such as warmth, creaminess, and an indulgent combination of flavors. One such comforting dish that stands out is Japan’s chicken doria, a delightful fusion of gratin and casserole that is sure to satisfy your cravings. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of chicken doria, how it’s made, and why it has become a popular dish in both yōshoku restaurants and Japanese home kitchens.

The origins of chicken doria

Contrary to its name, chicken doria originated in Japan, not Europe. It was created by Saly Weil, the first chef de cuisine at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama, and is considered a prime example of yōshoku, a unique culinary genre that combines Western-style dishes with Japanese influences. Weil, who is Swiss, introduced Doria to the menu, which features shrimp cooked in a creamy sauce and served over buttered rice pilaf.
The exact origin of the name “Doria” is debated. Some believe it was borrowed from a completely unrelated French dish created to serve the Genoese Doria family, while others attribute it to Chef Weil, who named it after a general in the Italian navy. Regardless of its etymology, Doria quickly gained popularity in both Yōshoku restaurants and Japanese homes, becoming a beloved baked rice dish.

How to make chicken doria

Making chicken doria is relatively simple, and its versatility allows for endless customization. The key ingredients are Japanese short-grain rice (often called sushi rice), chicken, a creamy sauce (such as béchamel or tomato), and melted cheese (typically mozzarella). Here’s a step-by-step guide to making this delicious dish:

  1. Preheat your oven to the appropriate temperature, usually around 350°F (175°C).
  2. Cook rice according to package instructions until slightly undercooked.
  3. In a separate pan, cook the chicken until cooked through and tender. You can use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken for added convenience.
  4. Prepare your choice of sautéed vegetables, such as mushrooms, onions, carrots and spinach. These can be added to the dish for extra flavor and nutrition.
  5. Next, prepare the sauce. A classic béchamel sauce made with flour, butter, and milk is the traditional choice. But you can also experiment with a Bolognese sauce or a creamy tomato sauce, depending on your preference.
  6. Assemble the Chicken Doria in a casserole dish by layering the ingredients. Start with a layer of rice, followed by the cooked chicken, sauteed vegetables and sauce. Repeat layers as desired.
  7. Finally, top the dish with a generous amount of melted cheese, such as mozzarella or a combination of cheeses.
  8. Bake the Chicken Doria in a preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. For an extra touch of crispy cheese, finish the dish under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is golden brown and irresistible.

Customize Chicken Doria

One of the great things about Chicken Doria is its versatility. You can customize the dish to your liking and experiment with different ingredients and flavors. Here are some ideas for customizing your Chicken Doria:

  1. Vegetarian Doria: Skip the chicken and add an assortment of sauteed vegetables like mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and broccoli for a delicious vegetarian option.
  2. Seafood Doria: Substitute shrimp, scallops, crab or salmon for chicken for a seafood twist on this classic.
  3. Spicy Doria: Give your Doria a kick by adding spices like chili flakes, paprika or cayenne pepper to the sauce.
  4. Cheesy Doria: Experiment with different types of cheese such as cheddar, gruyere or parmesan to create a unique and cheesy flavor profile.
  5. Herbed Doria: Enhance the flavor and taste of your Doria by adding fresh herbs such as basil, thyme or rosemary to the sauce or as a garnish.

Enjoy the delights of Doria chicken

Chicken Doria is a comforting and satisfying dish that combines the creaminess of a gratin, the heartiness of a casserole, and the unique flavors of Japanese cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a cozy family dinner or a dish to impress your guests, Chicken Doria is sure to hit all the right notes. Its creamy texture, flavorful ingredients, and customizable nature make it a versatile and popular dish.
So why not embark on a culinary adventure and try Chicken Doria? With its roots in Japanese cuisine and its fusion of Western influences, it offers a delightful twist on the traditional casserole. Gather your ingredients, follow the simple steps above, and enjoy a warm and satisfying meal that will transport you to the comforting flavors of Japan.
Remember, the beauty of Chicken Doria is its adaptability. Feel free to experiment with different variations, add your favorite ingredients, and make it your own. Whether you’re a meat lover, a seafood enthusiast, or a vegetarian, there’s a version of Chicken Doria to suit your taste buds.
So fire up your oven, gather your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy the unique flavors of Japan’s Chicken Doria. It’s a dish that combines nostalgia, comfort, and culinary creativity all in one bite. Enjoy the journey as you create your own version of this delicious casserole and gratin fusion, and let the flavors transport you to a place of contentment and satisfaction.


Chicken Doria is a delicious Japanese dish that combines the creaminess of a gratin with the heartiness of a casserole. It features a base of short-grain rice, tender chicken, savory vegetables and a creamy sauce, all topped with melted cheese and baked to perfection.

What makes Chicken Doria different from a traditional casserole?

While Chicken Doria shares similarities with gratin, such as a creamy base and cheese topping, it differs by incorporating rice into the dish. This addition gives it a casserole-like quality, making it a unique and flavorful twist on the classic gratin.

Can I customize Chicken Doria to my liking?

Absolutely! One of the best things about Chicken Doria is its versatility. You can customize it by adding your favorite sautéed vegetables, experimenting with different types of cheese, or even replacing the chicken with seafood for a delicious twist. The dish is highly adaptable and allows for endless variations.

What kind of rice should I use with Chicken Doria?

It is best to use Japanese short-grain rice, often called sushi rice, for Chicken Doria. The texture and starchiness of this type of rice help create a moist and creamy final dish. Although you can use other types of rice, the short-grain variety is recommended for the best results.

Can I make a vegetarian version of Chicken Doria?

Absolutely! If you prefer a vegetarian option, you can skip the chicken and add an assortment of sauteed vegetables such as mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, and broccoli. The vegetables will add flavor, texture, and nutrition to the dish, making it a satisfying vegetarian option.

How long does it take to bake Chicken Doria in the oven?

Chicken Doria typically needs to be baked in a preheated oven at about 350°F (175°C) for about 20-25 minutes. The exact baking time may vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the dish. It is important to bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the dish is heated through.

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