Sunday, November 8, 2015

On breakfast rice

What follows is a discussion of our breakfast rice.  Though we would eat it for lunch or dinner as well.  Perhaps it is better titled anytime rice?

There are supposedly two kinds of breakfasts - the every day kind and the kind you serve to guests.  I'm not exactly sure where this would fall.  We would most definitely serve this to guests.  But not just any kind of guest.  Those not-fussy kind of guests.  The kind we can be ourselves around.

Those guests who require us to be a different version of ourselves? A stiffer kind, a more pretentious kind, a kind that only obscures and obfuscates the feelings and emotions and thoughts simmering just below the surface?  For those people, a different breakfast will have to do.  And perhaps, a hotel room.

I suppose this feels like a major cop-out of a recipe.  Just rice with butter, nori goma furikake, soy sauce.  And some chile paste, if we are feeling fancy.  

So often rice is served as an afterthought, served on the side to round out a meal of stir fry or curry, used to plug in the gaps between bites filled with spices, herbs, proteins, and vegetables.  Or else it carries all these goodies as a whole dish, with the grains of rice acting as a vessel of conveyance, carrying the flavors of the dish upward and onward from fork to mouth.

But here we offer an alternative. We are championing rice, simplifying it.  Honoring it.  And urging everyone to embrace this grain as breakfast.  A relatively stripped down rice dish - an underlying hint of butter, with a generous drizzle of soy sauce, preferably the thick kind, to strike that umami note, a sprinkle of nori goma furikake to give a salty spark to it all.  And depending on the mood, some Sambal Oelek for sweet heat.  

In this breakfast rice, the rice is not an afterthought, but the raison d'etre.  The only thing that can possibly pull you out of bed on that bleak, dreary morning.  That morning when not enough sleep was had.  That morning that starts a day that holds nothing but stresses and problems, that morning when the body craves comfort and a warm a blanket for the soul.

I submit to you that this rice dish, a bowl of rice all piping hot and loaded up with these favored condiments, is a supremely superior warm breakfast when compared to oatmeal.  Nourishing, and warming to the body.  Stimulating the senses in order to embrace the coming day.

It isn't technically a complete meal.  There isn't any protein.  Nary a piece of produce in sight.  But it is a meal, nonetheless, and it is one of our favorite meals for breakfast.  It may not have all the food groups, but it hits all the right flavor notes.  And we will proudly serve this to those special people.  

Cooked calrose rice ( we use our rice cooker for this)
Unsalted butter
Nori goma furikake
Soy sauce, preferably thick
Sambal Oelek, optional
Sesame oil, optional

Scoop the cooked rice in a bowl.  Then have fun with the condiments.  Add a small pat of butter, sprinkle the nori, drizzle the soy sauce and sesame oil, scoop some Sambal Oelek.  

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