Japanese cuisine, on the whole, is said to be healthy and nutritionally balanced. Meals are traditionally based on one soup and three side dishes. Breakfasts follow this format too, and are known for their nutritional balance and variety. Some foreigners who have visited Japan may have tried Japanese breakfast at hotels or hot spring inns. In this article, we will introduce the characteristics of Japanese breakfast and a few actual menus.
What is Typical Japanese Breakfast?
The traditional Japanese breakfast is a healthy and nutritious menu featuring one soup and three dishes with rice, the staple food of the Japanese. Generally, breakfast is made by combining white rice, miso soup, pickles, and grilled fish, depending on the mood of the day and the ingredients purchased. Here, we look at the characteristics of the menu, specifically based on the one soup and three dishes format.
A Menu Based on One Soup and Three Dishes
One soup, three dishes is the concept of cooking one type of soup, rice, and three side dishes in a balanced manner. Rice is a staple food for Japanese people and a basic source of nutrition. It is the same as bread and potatoes in Europe. The soup is usually a miso soup, which is made from fermented soybean paste with tofu, seaweed, and root vegetables added to the soup. Most miso soups consumed for breakfast have few ingredients and are easy to digest. one of the three side dishes is the main dish, which is usually fish for protein. The other two side dishes are mostly vegetables that provide a good balance of vitamins and minerals
Benefits of Japanese Breakfast
Now that we have looked at an overview of breakfast in Japan, let's learn more about the benefits of eating Japanese breakfast.
Nutritionally Balanced and Healthy
The advantage of Japanese food is that it is healthy and nutritionally balanced. Among them, the Japanese breakfast is low in oil and vegetable-based, which makes it a good breakfast for dieters and vegetarians. One of the strengths of Japanese food is the concept of getting protein from soybeans, so even those who do not eat fish can get enough protein. Also, the breakfast is rich in vitamins and minerals, with a focus on vegetables and seafood.
The basic Japanese diet is one soup and three dishes, but the types of side dishes and ingredients for miso soup can be changed. So you can adjust the nutritional balance by customizing the ingredients each time, considering the balance between the side dishes and miso soup ingredients. Also, depending on your physical condition of the day, you can change the menu to increase the satisfaction of your breakfast, such as using more vegetables or looking at different types of fish.
Classic Japanese Cuisine
Japanese breakfast is a great way to enjoy a traditional Japanese meal. You can enjoy grilled fish, sea laver made from seaweed, and traditional Japanese pickles like nukazuke. Miso soup is also a simple soup where you can enjoy the taste of miso and its ingredients. This miso-based soup is unique to the East Asian region. As you can see, if you want to enjoy Japanese food, Japanese breakfast is the perfect time to experience it.
Standard Japanese Breakfast Menu and Recommended Recipes
Breakfast in Japan is freely customizable, but there are certain basic breakfast menus. If you can keep the basic menu in mind, you can recreate it at home.
Cooked White Rice
Rice is the staple food of the Japanese people. There are two main types of rice: japonica rice and indica rice. In Japan, the most commonly eaten type of rice is japonica rice, which has short grains. The characteristic of this rice is that it is sticky and has a strong sweetness. Japanese people eat rice cooked in a pot for breakfast. However, just like bread, white rice alone is not enough for most people. In that case, they will add furikake, a flavored seasoning, or natto, fermented soybeans, over the white rice. In other cases, people sometimes put mentaiko (spicy cod roe) on the white rice.
Miso soup is made by dissolving fermented soybean paste and salty seasoning in hot water. It is eaten with ingredients such as tofu, seaweed, and vegetables. Miso soup is a general term for soaps made with miso. So there are many variations, from ara-jiru, which is a luxurious soup using fish, to pork-jiru, which uses pork fat, to a simple one using green onions. Incidentally, there are two types of miso, white miso and red miso, which differ greatly in salt content and flavor.
Grilled fish is commonly eaten for breakfast in Japan, and are usually fish that are in season at that time of the year, such as salmon, mackerel, and horse mackerel. It is common to buy these fish, grill them, and eat them with soy sauce and grated radish. By the way, if you are worried about the smell of fish, you can put citrus fruits on the fish to make it easier to eat.
The most popular side dishes are omelet, natto (fermented soybeans), and tofu paste. Tamagoyaki is a dish in which eggs are mixed with sugar, dashi (Japanese soup stock), and salt, and the batter is poured into a frying pan or special cooking equipment, then baked and rolled into a ball. It is a simple dish, but it is said to be a taste of the Japanese home, as the flavor varies greatly depending on the type of dashi, salt, and sugar used in each household. Natto is a side dish served on top of rice, it is fermented soybeans, so it is very healthy and nutritious. As a side dish, there are a variety of variations, such as salad dressing with vinegar, hijiki and vegetables mixed in. It is ideal when considering nutritional balance.
Japanese Pickled Vegetables (Tsukemono)
Tsukemono is a dish made by marinating vegetables like daikon, rakkyo and cucumber in a pickling liquid. For example, takuan, which is made by pickling daikon in a yellow seasoning solution, is a popular pickle throughout Japan. Because of its high salt content, this pickle goes well with white rice. Shibazuke, made by fermenting eggplant with lactic acid, is another famous pickle. The bright reddish-purple color of this pickle is its characteristic.
At breakfast in Japan, hot Japanese tea is served from a teapot, called kyusu, into a teacup, called yunomi. The gentle aroma of Japanese tea helps you to eat something in the morning when you have no appetite. Also, the catechins in Japanese tea have the effect of lowering cholesterol in the blood, so if you drink Japanese tea the morning after a day of overeating, it will help keep your cholesterol from rising.
Energize Your Body with a Japanese Breakfast!
Breakfast in Japan is a healthy and nutritionally balanced breakfast. In recent years, many people tend not to eat breakfast or just have a light meal, but breakfast is very important to start the day. Let's take a traditional Japanese breakfast, featuring grilled fish, white rice, pickles and miso soup to keep our bodies fit and energized!