Classic Japanese Breakfast – Salmon, Miso & Natto. There’s a reason why I lost 5kg (~10 lbs) during my first month in Tokyo! The portions are small, but the quality is high. I remember buying onigiris throughout the day 🤣However, Japanese breakfasts were the perfect size! Every Sunday mornings, I took refuge in a small hole-in-the-spot restaurant near my residence. The breakfast menu was: Baked Salmon, few pieces of rolled egg (tamagoyaki), a small plate of natto, cup yogurt and of course – miso soup on the side. This week, I wanted to stroll down memory lane and re-create this set menu at home!
Don’t have time? Make it for dinner – simple, healthy and delicious. I’ll leave you with a few cooking notes for each dish.
- One way to mess-up the miso soup is… if you add too much bonito flakes when making the stock broth. If you start with 4 cups of water, one large handful of bonito flakes is perfect.
- To this, we recommend 3 Tablespoons of Miso Paste – but depending on the brand, you may only need 2 Tablespoons. Give it a taste after 2 Tablespoons – and add 1 more if you need!
- When making the Cucumber Salad, it’s best to use cucumbers with a thin skin. I recommend Japanese or Korean cucumbers. Or as an alternative… English or Persian cucumbers. However, I don’t recommend using American cucumbers for this recipe – they’re watery and have many seeds.
- When cooking the Soy Sauce Glaze for the Salmon, it’s best to turn off the heat when you see the bubbles get big. That’s because the sauce will continue to thicken from its own residual heat.
Alrighty, I hope this inspires you to try a simple rice-based breakfast. The key is small portions with a variety of healthy side dishes! It should help you get the week started with good energy and a big smile! 🙃
Bon Appetit, Dan-yul out! 🕺
Classic Japanese Breakfast: Miso, Natto, Sunomono & Salmon!
1. Everyday Miso Soup
- 1 iPhone-sized piece Kelp (Kombu)
- 1 large handful Katsuobushi (Dried Bonito Flakes)
- 1/2 block of Tofu 150-200 grams
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Seaweed (Wakame)
- 3 Tablespoons Miso Paste
- Small handful Green Onions
2. Sunomono Cucumber Salad
- 2 whole Cucumbers
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Seaweed (Optional)
Sunomono Salad Dressing
- 1 Tablespoon Vinegar
- 1/2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
3. Pan-fried Salmon
- 1 Salmon Filet
- Few shakes Salt
- Few shakes Black Pepper
- Few slices of Lemon
Soy-Sauce Sauce (Optional)
- 2 Tablespoons Mirim
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
4. Green Onion Natto
- 1 Natto Package (Includes Soy Sauce & Mustard Packets)
- 1 Tablespoon Diced Green Onion
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Seaweed Flakes (Kimjaban) (Optional)
Everyday Miso Soup
- Place 4 cups of water into a pot. Then add in an iPhone-sized piece of Kelp (Kombu). Place the pot on a medium heat and slowly bring to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, add in a large handful of Katsuobushi (Dried Bonito Flakes). Then turn off the heat. Let it seep in the water for 10 minutes.
- While you wait, let's prep soup ingredients: Cut Tofu into bite-sized cubes. Then place Dried Seaweed (1 Tablespoon) into a bowl of cold water. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes, until it blooms. Now, empty the water and squeeze the water out of the seaweed. Cut the seaweed into bite-sized pieces if needed. Finally, cut a green onion stalk into thin slices (we'll use for garnish).
- After 10 minutes of seeping, pour the broth through a strainer and remove the bonito flakes. Now pour this broth into a pot and place it on a medium-high heat. Scoop out Miso Paste (3 Tablespoons) into a separate bowl. Add a few scoops of the hot broth into the bowl and stir the miso paste into a liquid. Then add this into the broth. Now, add in the tofu blocks and chopped seaweed as well. Give it a stir and let it boil for 1 minute. Then turn off the heat - it's ready to serve.
- Remember to garnish each soup with some chopped green onion slices!
Sunomono Cucumber Salad
- Thoroughly wash the two cucumbers. Chop the ends off each. (Optional: If you're cucumber has small bumps like ours, use a peeler and spot remove them - don't peel off the entire skin). Now, use your knife and cut the cucumber into very thin slices. Place the thin slices into a mixing bowl.
- Add Salt (1/2 teaspoon!) to the cucumber slices and mix it with your hands. Set the cucumber pieces aside for 10-15 minutes - they will become flexible and release their water. After 15 minutes, firmly squeeze the water out of the cucumber slices and set them aside.
- Optional Ingredient: Add dried seaweed (1 Tablespoon) into a small bowl. Add in cold water and let them blossom. After 10 minutes, squeeze the water out of the seaweed and give it a quick chop.
- Take out a mixing bowl and make the cucumber salad sauce: Mix Vinegar (1 Tablespoon), Soy Sauce (1/2 Tablespoon), Sugar (1/2 Tablespoon), Sesame Seeds (1/2 Tablespoon), Sesame Oil (1 teaspoon!).
- Add the squeezed cucumber slices as well as the squeezed seaweed pieces. Mix everything together. Plate and enjoy with a bowl of hot rice!
Pan-Fried Salmon & Soy Glaze
- Pat-down the salmon filets with a paper towel. We want them dry so they develop a nice crispy crust. Season each side with a few shakes of salt and pepper.
- Optional Sauce: Mix Mirim (2 Tablespoons), Sugar (1 Tablespoon), Soy Sauce (2 Tablespoons)
- Place frying pan on a medium-high heat. Put-in some olive oil (or oil of choice). Once the oil is hot, place your salmon filets on. Cook on both sides until you get a nice crispy surface. Then plate and wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel.
- Give your soy sauce a quick mix again, then pour it into the frying pan. Let the sauce cook and reduce until you get large bubbles. Once it starts to thicken (like a runny syrup), turn off the heat immediately and place into a small bowl. (Remember: The sauce will continue to thicken from the residual heat - it's better to take out earlier than later)
- Before eating, squeeze some lemon juice on to the salmon fillet. Then drizzle on some of the soy sauce marinade. Enjoy with a bowl of hot rice - Bon Appetit!
- Open the natto package. Add-in all of the soy sauce and mustard packets. Give it a good mix until you see the silky, sticky strands form. Then add-in some chopped green onions and dried seaweed flakes (optional). Give another mix! Plate it and give it final garnish with more chopped green onions on top.
- Enjoy with a bowl of hot rice - Bon Appetit!