Happy New Year! I hope you had as nice and restful a week as I did.
I don’t generally venture into resolution territory, but this year I decided I really need to do something about my “breakfast problem”. For several reasons (the main ones being that I am not generally hungry first thing in the morning and I am usually rushing to get my kids ready for school), I almost always skip breakfast opting to instead eat my first meal of the day at 11 or later.
With my background in nutrition, I know this isn’t good for you (it’s problematic for your blood sugar and metabolism), yet I still constantly struggle with the whole breakfast “thing”. So my main New Year’s resolution is to eat a healthy breakfast everyday within an hour of waking up.
Recently it occurred to me that ochazuke, one of my favorite dishes from time I spent in Japan, would be a great breakfast solution for me because it’s so quick to make and if you use good ingredients, it can be an incredibly well balanced nutritious meal.
Ochazuke is usually made with white rice and tea, and is often topped with some sort of fish as well as pickles and other salty “stuff”. My variation uses brown rice, so it’s higher in nutrients and fiber, and I use edamame and egg for protein. The green tea boosts your antioxidant intake, the seaweed is great for your skin and hair, and when topped with some naturally pickled ginger and toasted sesame seeds, it’s a really tasty savory breakfast.
You can vary this pretty much infinitely: add more veggies (different seaweeds, cucumber and/or carrot cut into matchsticks, or diced avocado would be nice), use a different grain (quinoa or millet anyone?), or choose another protein (some leftover grilled salmon or any other fish comes to mind). I like this simple version, though, because it’s easy to have frozen edamame, leftover rice and cooked eggs at the ready. You could also forgo the egg and just use the edamame if you’re looking for a vegan option.
Egg Ochazuke Recipe
Yield: 1 serving
* 1/2-3/4 cup cooked short-grain brown rice
* 1/2 cup cooked shelled edamame (young green soybeans)
* 1-2 soft or hard boiled eggs (or use a poached or fried egg or two)
* 1 tablespoon all-natural pickled ginger, minced (I like The Ginger People brand)
* 2-3 Tb. rehydrated wakame seaweed and/or 1/2 sheet nori (toasted seaweed used for sushi), cut or torn into strips or small pieces
* 1-2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
* 1/2-1 cup hot green tea (sencha, hojicha or genmaicha are best; matcha is probably not the best choice)
* pinch black lava sea salt or other coarse sea salt to taste (probably not necessary if using wakame in your ochazuke as it's pretty salty)
1. Mix brown rice and edamame in a small bowl.
2. Sprinkle pickled ginger over rice/edamame.
3. Place egg(s) on top (slice in half if using soft or hard boiled egg), and top with the nori and toasted sesame seeds.
4. Pour in the green tea and sprinkle with the salt.
Just because I’m suggesting this for breakfast doesn’t mean you have to eat it for breakfast, though. You can enjoy ochazuke any time of the day; it makes a great light lunch, dinner or snack, too!