Monday, March 17, 2014

Japanese breakfast

On Friday, as part of CAAMFEST, Doug and I went to see a film with Jon and Leah. Called "Family Ingredients," the show turned out to be the pilot for a new tv show in Hawaii that traces the cultural origins of all the different foods that have come to the islands --Filipino, Polynesian, Chinese, and in this case, Japanese.

The featured guest was Michelin starred chef Alan Wong, who, it turns out, is half Japanese, half Chinese. And his comfort food from childhood is tamago kake gohan.

Tamago kake gohan is basically a raw egg beaten into hot rice. But if you think the heat of the rice cooks the egg and kills off any salmonella, think again. I have watched many Japanese people eating this for breakfast, including one time at a little minshuku (family inn) in Mikuni, when I took my raw egg into the kitchen and fried it for myself, to the amusement/bewilderment of the old couple running the place. And the other guests. 

So I was skeptical about adopting this particular practice so late in the game, after resisting it for so many years. But Doug wanted to try it... And he strongly dislikes eggs-- hates the sulfur-y flavor.

So I set up the rice cooker and headed to the farmer's market. Gotta have fresh eggs for this. 

You scoop out your steaming rice...

And make a little well for the egg. 

Then you crack in the egg..

And whip it to a fine frenzy. It should get creamy and fully incorporated in the rice. Then add a dash of soy sauce.

At this point, we tasted it. Because the eggs were free range and fresh, the taste is extremely mild, non of Doug's hated sulfur flavor. In fact, it tastes like not much at all. Sort of, gooey rice. Why risk salmonella for this? (I have to point out that I felt the exact same way the first 10 - 20 times I ate raw fish, though.)

So we decided to jazz it up.

Some furikake, tsukudani konbu --basically seaweed cooked in soy and sugar -- and umeboshi, pickled plum. 

And then to Americanize -no, California -ize it: 

Turkey bacon! That's it folks. A California twist on Japanese comfort food. Semi healthy... Another delicious addition would be CHEESE. Or any kind of pickle. 

I read there's a 72 window for the diarrhea to hit if you get salmonella, so I've still got a few days til I'm in the clear. An easy experiment, but next time I'll stick with my over easy. 

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