The classic combination of rice and miso soup. If you’ve had a Japanese breakfast, you know there’s also a pickle or condiment: umeboshi, furikake, nukazuke, or the highly divisive natto. At my dad’s house in Tokyo, there’s usually a container of kimchee and nori no tsukudani.
Nori no tsukudani is a paste you slather on rice. It tastes how you’d expect—like seaweed, but (dare I say) with more umami. Please know I don’t throw that word around casually. It’s rich, with the right balance of saltiness from the shoyu and a mellow sweetness from the mirin. It’s made from sheets of nori that are hydrated, seasoned, and cooked down until most of the moisture has evaporated. Sesame seeds and sesame oil are stirred in at the end. There are endless ways you can play with it (adding wasabi, yuzu rind, etc.).
I’ve posted a miso soup recipe (and video) before so nothing new there except this katsuobushi (dried bonito) has made life easier:
Thickly shaved katsuobushi (instead of the ubiquitous thin and wispy kind) is great because you throw it into the pot to steep, then pick it out once the dashi is done. You make the miso soup in the same pot, cutting out the step of straining, saving time and dirty dishes.
Noelle knocked it out of the park with this Heidi Swanson recipe: Pan-Fried Giant White Beans with Kale. Can you believe she started the day out like this? I want to have breakfast at her place.
Nori no Tsukudani
Adapted from ochikeron
Makes about 1/4 cup
2 nori sheets
1 Tbsp shoyu
1 Tbsp mirin
1 1/2 tsp white sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Tear the nori into small pieces and put in a small pot. Add the water and soak for 3 mins. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the shoyu and mirin and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated (mine took 13 mins). Turn off heat and stir in sesame seeds and sesame oil. Serve with rice.