My husband Peter used to tell me about his favorite breakfast experience during his tour with the Marines in Japan back in the late 60's. He told me that he loved the sticky rice over which was poured a raw egg and a few drops of soy sauce. He quickly stirred the egg into the very hot rice mixing up all the ingredients. The egg would begin to cook and the rice would turn a lovely glossy yellow. You would sprinkle chopped scallion over the top and dig in. These were his days spent as a young 20 year old during the Vietnam war only he was stationed in Okinawa.
Today we revisit the breakfast with a few changes...
We are thinking about high nutrition to a breakfast that will give us energy till the lunch hour. If you think about having nutritious and tasty foods available in your pantry and fridge all the time, then your family can put together great tasting food any time of day.
Brown rice is one of these great staples. Soak brown rice the day before if you have that luxury of time. If you do not, build it into your routine sometime during the week. Since it is just two of us, I soak a cup of brown rice over night. The next day I pour off the water and add 2 1/4 cups fresh water and bring to a boil on the stove. Turn the heat down to medium low or till there are gentle bubbles on the surface. Let the rice cook (covered or uncovered) for about 20-30 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Take off the heat and let cool. When cool put into a container and into the fridge for making breakfast.
We are lucky in larger metropolitan areas (such as Washington, DC) to have large ethnic populations. And with these populations comes the amentities that cater also to their needs. I have come to love the wealth of ethnic grocery stores in our area and frequent them more than the standard grocery stores (such as Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter, etc). The produce sections are often filled with vegetables and fruits you may have never seen or rarely see in standard stores. Pick up some baby bok choy on your next trip. Other items to have on hand are sometoasted sesame oil, tamari or high quality shoyu (soy sauce) and some rice wine vinegar. [You could upgrade your vinegar by trying brown rice vinegar or even some umeboshi plum vinegar.]
Pick up a jar of gomaisio too. "Goma" is sesame in Japanese. Gomaisio consists of toasted sesame seeds and sea salt and sometimes also has seaweed in the mix. This is a healthy sprinkle for many dishes. Gomaisio is one of those nutritious condiments that adds some micronutrients that are often not found in any other foods. Eden foods makes this product and has several varieties. I like the one with the seaweed for the added micronutrients.
This is my condiment tray. The gomasio, tamari, toasted sesame oil, and plum vinegar are all used in this breakfast saute. (You can also use rice vinegar or even better brown rice vinegar as well as umeboshi plum vinegar.)
I leave for work very early in the AM each day so a quick and nutritious breakfast is what I seek. Now you have your cooked brown rice, some bok choy and your condiments.
In a small non-stick single pan heated on about medium, add a teaspoon of the toasted sesame oil. Take one bok choy and either break off about 4 good sized leaves or cut off the end first and discard, then cut into half inch pieces. Make sure you check for any dirt that may have accumulated in the root end of the bulb. Add the cut greens to the pan and stir for about 2-3 minutes. Now add half a cup of cooked brown rice (aren't you glad you already had brown rice made in the fridge?). Add a teaspoon each of rice vinegar and shoyu sauce and toss for a minutes or two until the rice is warmed up. Pour into your nice bowl, sprinkle with gomaisio and get some chop sticks and enjoy.
You could add an egg to the finished bowl but make sure the rice and greens are hot so as to cook the egg when you quickly stir it in. If you have leftover fish from the night before you may also add that for some additional protein. Try this a few mornings and see what you think. If it is good you may want to add it to your quick morning repertoire for a nice bit of energy on the way to work. Your body will thank you too. There are optional add-ins depending on your likes and what is available: shitake mushrooms (immunity), scallions, shredded carrot, finely shredded cabbage, spinach. The idea is to start your day with a good dose of fiber and protein that will keep you going.
Some nutrition facts things to know about brown rice:
Brown rice is chewier in texture than white rice. It takes longer too cook yet since the endosperm is still on each grain you have higher nutrition and fiber in each grain and that is what is best for your health. Brown rice is a carb but also supplies a source of protein. Soaking the grains then rinsing the soak water releases a lot of the phytic acid present in many grains and legumes. High levels of phytic acid in the body can leach the zinc out of your system so soaking the rice is better especially if you eat a lot of brown rice. It is just a good habit and also good to understand how to handle different ingredients so your body gets the most from them.
A traditional Japanese breakfast would consist of more than this simple bowl. It would also have miso soup, a piece of fish, some pickled vegetables in addition to the rice. For ease of having a nutritious breakfast that you can fix in 5 minutes this works well and satisfies. If you have a piece of leftover fish from the night before, toss it into the pan towards the end just to warm it up and you will have a bite of additional protein.
Now you can add the raw egg at the very end if you want and stir it all up while the rice is very hot.
Best of all it is tasty!