From our story on Japanese Farm Food
by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Japanese Soul Food
For most Japanese, raw eggs over very hot rice with a dash of soy sauce (tamago-kake gohan) is like the American standard eggs on toast. “I was raised on Japanese food,” says Bill Fujimoto, a self-described 66-year-old Japanese American, who is known in foodie circles as a former owner of and produce buyer at Monterey Market. (He’s currently a consultant to Diablo Foods in Lafayette and Cooks Company in San Francisco.) “Egg on rice is so familiar to me. It’s a simple country dish, a basic meal that my mom cooked on weeknights on a regular basis. Nancy’s descriptions help me to understand and appreciate some of the basic, traditional foods I grew up with.”
A freshly laid egg from a free-roaming chicken that has been raised on corn, seaweed, crab shells, and greens (as Tadaaki Hachisu feeds his chickens), over a bowl of carefully cultivated organic rice, will have a sweetness and pronounced taste very unlike a factory egg from a supermarket.
“Nancy calls tamago-kake gohan ‘soul food,’” says Fujimoto. “For me, much of what’s in her book is soul food: whole, nutritious, comfort food.”
Raw Egg on Hot Rice (Tamago-Kake Gohan)
Reprinted with permission from Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu, published in 2012 by Andrews McMeel Publishing.
The hot rice cooks the egg just a smidge, but essentially it is raw, so do not attempt this method unless you are able to buy your eggs directly from a local farmer. Knowing your egg source and how the chickens live assures you that the eggs can be safely eaten uncooked. —NSH
- 2 cups cooked Japanese rice (hot!)
- 4 very fresh large farm eggs, at room temperature
- Organic soy sauce
For each serving, scoop about ½ cup or more rice into a small bowl. Break the egg over the steaming grains and splash in a little organic soy sauce. Mix with chopsticks. Eat every grain of rice. Lick the bowl if you like.
VARIATION: If you don’t find the idea of eating raw eggs appealing, you can make a couple of Japanese-style fried eggs to eat on top of the rice. Heat a teaspoon or two of rapeseed or sesame oil in a small frying pan over high heat with 1 small dried chile torn into 3 pieces. Break 2 farm-fresh eggs into the hot oil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the white is set but the yolks are still runny. Loosen the eggs from the pan with a spatula and set on top of a small bowl of rice. Drizzle with soy sauce and eat for breakfast (or lunch).