Thursday, April 20, 2006

Japanese Country Power Breakfast

As promised, here’s the recipe for the Japanese country power breakfast I got out of this book, along with a few comments by me. Aren’t you lucky? (no)


½ cup hot cooked rice
4 large eggs
½ of a 3 x 5 block of atsu-age tofu (thick fried tofu) - note 1
12 grape or 8 cherry tomatoes
2 scallions, roots and tops cut off, with the white and green parts thinly sliced and kept separate from each other - note 2
1 cup mixed cooked vegetables - note 3
4 cups dashi - note 4
2 ½ tablespoons red or white miso (or a combination of both)


1. Place the eggs in a small saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for seven minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon (note 5) and put them on a plate to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter each egg.
2. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the tofu and gently boil over medium heat, turning occasionally, for one minute; drain (this will remove excess oil). Cut the tofu into small squares (about ¾ of an inch).
3. Lay out four small soup bowls. In each, arrange a portion of egg wedges, tofu squares, the white part of the sliced scallions, tomatoes, cooked vegetables, and cooked rice.
4. Place the dashi in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk in the miso and turn off the heat. (note 6) Ladle the hot miso broth over the ingredients in the bowls. Garnish each serving with the green part of the scallions.
5. Enjoy!

Serves four. If you only want to create one serving, I recommend cutting it back to ¼ cup of rice, ¼ cup of vegetables, 1 egg, and 2 or 3 tomatoes. Make the full soup base (and add the full amount of tofu and scallions) and the unused portion will keep in the refrigerator for another meal.


1. You can leave this out altogether with no real impact on the dish, except that you’ll be losing some protein (but you still have the egg). Also, you can substitute this with thinly sliced potato. If you use the potato, add it to the soup base as soon as you put it on the stove for a little added cooking time. If you want to substitute regular tofu (use the firm) for the atsu-age, add it to the soup base just after whisking in the miso paste.

2. Although I’ve found it tastes better if you just add all of the scallions to the soup just after whisking in the miso paste. It takes a little of the bite out of them.

3. Peas, carrots, green beans, and corn are good for this.

4. I can provide the dashi recipe if you want it, but I haven’t made it myself because it’s time consuming, short-lived, and requires the use of cheesecloth. Instead, I recommend buying the miso paste that already has the dashi (fishy soup stock) mixed in with it and use four cups of water instead.

Miso Paste with Soup Stock

If you can’t find that, get the regular miso paste and a boxed product called hon dashi, which is powdered soup stock.

Miso Paste without Soup Stock

I took five pictures and this was the best one

Add it (probably a teaspoon, although the directions will tell you how much) to four cups of water and use that in place of the dashi.

5. Or your hands if you’re as manly as me and don’t own a slotted spoon. Actually, I dump the hot water and run cold water over them until the outsides are cool enough to touch and peel. If you do it quickly, you can remove the shells before the inside of the egg reheats the outside. That way, the quartered egg bits are hotter when you add them to the mix.

6. I’ve heard the best way to do this, in order to preserve the flavor, is to bring the water just to boiling, remove from heat, and then whisk in the miso paste.

I further modified the recipe by leaving out the tomatoes, because I hate fecking tomatoes. Even the little grape tomatoes had too much tomatoey flavor for me. It makes the dish a little less pretty, but I like it better, and it’s still quite pretty with the white and yellow egg, green and white scallions, brown and white tofu, and green and orange peas and carrots mix I’ve been using.

For a little added spice, try sprinkling a little shichimi togarashi on the finished meal. A lot of English labels will call the stuff nanami togarashi, but it means the same thing – seven flavor pepper.

Seven Flavour Pepper Seven Flavor Pepper

BTW, if you just want to make miso soup (which is even easier, but not as filling), the best recipe I’ve found is here. Even if you don’t want to make miso soup (fecking American rednecks) it’s worth visiting just for the cooking tips.


Anonymous said...

Last night i had rice, choi sum[leafy green relative of bok choi] in a stir fry, fish fillets fried in tomato and onion sause.

then wonton, and choi mein in chinatown for supper.

japanese sounds exotic. Miso is yummy.

PBS said...

That sounds good but a lot of messing around to make. Maybe it's just because the ingredients are unfamiliar.

BBB_0202020 said...

way too many ingredients for me I would have screwed up the nstructions unless I had absoultely nothing else going on.

annush said...

dude that's a whole lot of food for a breakfast meal. I could possibly die if i mix all that!
good thing i'm not japanese...

The Stiltwalker said...

I need you to make a batch and bring it to McDonough, thank you.

geekdarling said...

Dude. Could those pictures BE any bigger?

patti_cake said...

I would like to try it but Stacy would faint if I put this on the table. He's strictly a grits n' sausage kinda boy.

Grant said...

fatty - Japanese rules. Unfortunately, I don't think I've ever eaten authentic Chinese or Thai food. The local Vietnamese restaurant features a bakery, so I suspect some Westernization of the V-dishes.

pbs - its actually easy to make, unless you're they type that views instant mashed potatoes as too much work. "They expect me to boil water AND stir?" That used to be me.

tigerkiss - if I can do it, I think (literally) anyone can. I used to have problems making grilled cheese.

annush - by American (especially Southern) standards, that's not much food at all. But then again, you're anorexic. :p

stiltwalker - I'm sure McDonough is just full of authentic Japanese restaurants. Or you can always drive to my old home town of Griffin - the cultural hub South of Atlanta. :p

geekdarling - yes they can. My camera defaults to a setting of 36 x 24 inches and I cut them down to the size you see. I'll send you all of the original 3mb files. :p

patti_cake - while he's unconscious would be the perfect time to perform that operation. :p

~Deb said...

OMG I could live off miso soup! But I think my ass would blow up like a fricken balloon due to how much salt I retain! So it's a fish stock? I didn't know that. It's the best soup in the world!!! I could live off sushi and miso for the rest of my life not missing anything else.

I wonder---is that profile picture YOU ??? Or are you Japanese or of Asian descent? I always wondered that...

Just curious.

Great recipe! I'd probably botch it up though---I'd rather go to my Japanese sushi bar and steakhouse...or have you come over to cook for us!

patti_cake said...

Bwa haaaa haaa point well taken!

Grant said...

~deb - that is a picture of me, although it's old and from my Army days (you didn't think I dressed like that for work, did you?). Ethnically, I'm a mix of English / Irish / German / Cherokee / French, in descending order. Which explains my interest in Japanese culture. :p

Tai said...

LOOOOOVE Japanese on the West Coast we are especially lucky for all the fresh seafood available.

Oh, and you'd probably love Thai food.
You should try it sometime, but be forewarned, alot of it is very hot (spicy) so keep an eye out when ordering for the little chili peppers on the side indicating the heat level of the dish.
Personally, the hotter the better is how I order it!

Okami said...

Thanks for the recipe Grant ~ I'll have to try it out in the next couple of days. I'll cook a batch of it for a couple of friends and I'll certainly give you full credit for it. But I'm not sure how well they make take it when I say that "Grant is responsible for what is in their mouths".

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Saur♥Kraut said...

I love exotic foods and would eat that stuff morning, noon and night. The only food I can't stand is American food.

Anonymous said...

chinese and vietnamese bakeries do feature some pretty good stuff.

remember - the vietnamese were colonised by the french - lots of influence.

Kira said...

One of Alex's closest friends is Vietnamese, and the fellow's parents run a restaurant in France that is amazing. I love nearly all Asian foods I've ever tried. However, Grant, I think I'd have to drive to Hotlanta to get some of those ingredients! I know of a little Indian grocery here, but I can't recall ever seeing a Japanese grocery that might have that stuff. And my regular groceries here do NOT carry miso, etc. I usually play around with new dishes to prepare over the summer when I'm not teaching, so maybe I'll give it a whirl then (...after I find a source for some of these ingredients)

Kerry said...

Sounds yummy...can i buy it in a can :)

Just Some Gal said...

I might have to try making that homemade now. There are several large asian supermarkets here in Houston so it shouldn't be too hard to locate the ingredients.

I don't know about breakfast though... I have a difficult time speaking english before coffee, let alone eating fish soup.

Grant said...

tai - I love Thai food, although I wonder how authentic some of it is around here. My favorite place features a lot of popular Chinese dishes like cashew chicken with a Thai twist (spicy chili sauce).

okami - make sure they have a mouthful and no place to spit when you make the announcement. Let me know how it goes.

saur kraut - there is such a thing as American food? I thought we borrowed most everything from everyone esle. But I know what you mean, and I agree - especially with Southern comfort foods. What's so comforting about something dipped in batter and fried in lard?

fatty - my American is showing again. I read that in Japan, baked goods are mostly found in city bakeries and are due to Western influence. Most homes have a small or no oven since most home-cooked J food is not baked. I forgot about the French influence in Vietnam.

kira - I just sent you a couple of links that might help you find some of the ingredients.

kerry - I take it you're not into the whole fresh food thing. :p

blondie - if you've ever had miso soup, it's like that. It's not fishy at all - in fact, most people are surprised to learn the soup base involves dried fish flakes.

Tracy Lynn said...

The nice part of living where I do is that a lot of different kinds of foods are available in my local markets. I get cup of miso, and instant pad thai, etc. Much easier than making it from scratch, and since it's imported from Asia, it's definitely authentic.

Kerry said...

love fresh food, just not fond of cooking...peeling an orange is fancy cooking for me.

mal said...

sounds realllllly good *S* Thanks!

Notice that compared to most american breakfasts is lacks simple carbos? interesting

TTD said...

im not big on trying new things.. so i'll pass...

Anonymous said...

just finished a type of soup with miso, but more like just mixing something rather than having a recipe (saw this one after finishing). I tried with wakame, shitake, tofu(the not fried one), onion, rice and egg.
As I had no idea, just started frying the onion, and then adding the rest, adding first the stuff that will take more time, and at the end the stuff that will take less time.
Was not ,bad, so this one must be good at least.