What’s for breakfast? Starting the day on a good note sets the tone for the rest of the day. Besides your morning cup of coffee, how about a delicious breakfast made with nutritious ingredients from Ibaraki?
Ibaraki - The Land Of Abundance
Blessed with fertile land and a mild climate, Ibaraki prefecture is well known as both an agricultural centre and a food paradise. Its rich rural history goes back to the ancient times and today, it is one of the top producers of agricultural products in Japan. Throughout different seasons, Ibaraki churns out a huge variety of top-notch food crops.
A trip to Japan is off the cards for the time being. However, we can thank the good people at WAKEARI for stocking a variety of Ibaraki’s famous food specialties, specially air-flown all the way to the sunny shores of Singapore.
Hungry for a taste of nature’s finest bounties? Here are some fantastic Ibaraki-inspired breakfast ideas that will nourish your health and excite your palate.
Japanese-style Breakfast Ideas
1. Natto (Fermented Soybeans)
Ibaraki is the heart of Natto in Japan. If you are unfamiliar with this highly nutritious food, Natto is basically fermented soybeans covered in a sticky gooey slime that is chock-full of good bacteria. Although it emanates a strong smell as with all fermented foods, Natto tastes surprisingly mild. The flavour is a little reminiscent of pungent cheese, but with subtle hints of sweetness and bitterness. It is an acquired taste, even amongst the Japanese.
How To Enjoy It:
In the eastern parts of Japan, a typical Japanese breakfast consists of fluffy rice topped with Natto. Some add a sprinkling of spring onions and a raw egg, while others prefer a topping of dried seaweed. If a bowl of rice for breakfast is too heavy, you can make Natto Onigiri rice balls or stir it into a bowl of comforting Miso soup. Or mix karashi mustard and soy sauce with Natto for a delicious appetiser that you can savour on its own.
We say you try them all to find out what your favourite way to enjoy Natto is!
2. Dried Shirasu (Whitebait)
Caught fresh off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture’s coastal town, these high-quality baby anchovies make for a delightful and nutritious seafood dish. Containing the delicious saltiness of the sea, Dried Shirasu is rich in calcium, protein and beneficial oils like DHA. Add this simple seafood ingredient to your breakfast menu for a tasty nutritional boost.
How To Enjoy It:
The simplest way to enjoy this savoury whitebait is to make a satisfying Shirasu-don. Put a generous heap of Dried Shirasu onto a bowl of rice, and mix in a little grated ginger and soy sauce to bring out the sweetness of seafood. The real connoisseurs will even throw in a spoonful of Natto for extra umami flavours. There you have it, a flavourful and super nutritious breakfast that only takes a few minutes to prepare.
You can enhance the tastes of other dishes and create plenty of healthy recipes with this versatile whitebait. Mash it into porridge for your little ones, use it as an appetising topping for tofu or add them into stir-fry to enhance the aromatics.
Whether with Natto or Dried Shirasu, a scrumptious Japanese breakfast is not complete without rice. And, there is no better way than to use premium Ibaraki Koshihikari Rice. Rice is widely cultivated in Ibaraki because of its ideal climate and it has become the number one producer of rice in the Kanto area. Ibaraki‘s Koshihikari rice is renowned for being fragrant, chewy and sweet. It has a glossy sheen with few imperfections to the grain, which are markers of good quality short-grain rice.
Western-style Breakfast Ideas
1. Ibaraki Assorted Fruit Jam (Confiture)
Affectionately known as the Kingdom of Fruits, Ibaraki is a paradise for fruit lovers. A wonderful variety of fruits are available all year round, with the highlight being sweet and luscious melons because Ibaraki is Japan's top producer of this fruit.
Photo from: Ibaraki-Prefectural Tourism & Local Products Association
You can now have a taste of these delectable fruits without the need to fly there with Ibaraki’s assorted range of Fruit Jams. The mouth-watering flavours include strawberry, blueberry, melon, fig, pear, grape, persimmon, apple, prune, plum, tangerine, carrot, kiwi, apricot, purple potato and chestnuts.
These additive-free confiture jams were made by slowly boiling lovingly selected fruits from Ibaraki in a copper pot to preserve their natural sweetness. They are sealed in jars to maintain freshness.
How To Enjoy It:
Ibaraki Fruit Jams are packed with juicy fruits that are bursting with flavours. These sweet and tangy homemade jams go best with freshly baked bread. Having such a joyous breakfast would definitely sweeten up the rest of your day.
Besides for breakfast food, you can also use these yummy jams as a healthy topping for ice cream and plain yogurt, or incorporate them into desserts. A drizzle of these fruity condiments (we recommend apricot, kiwi, plum and prune) pairs perfectly with beef steaks as well.
They are all so finger-licking good that you would probably have a hard time choosing one. Crammed with the natural goodness of fresh fruits, Ibaraki Fruit Jams let you enjoy a healthier meal minus the guilt.
2. Kinako Powder (Roasted Soybean Powder)
Popularly eaten together with mochi, Kinako is a soybean powder that has been a traditional Japanese ingredient since ancient times. You can probably find it in Japanese supermarkets, but to taste the richness of Ibaraki’s agricultural products, you have to try this exceptional range of Kinako Powder from Ibaraki.
Good quality Ibaraki soybeans are roasted over an open flame and then ground into a fine powder. Kinako by itself is pleasantly nutty with just the right amount of natural sweetness. To further enhance the flavours of the soybean flour, yummy ingredients such as almonds, walnuts and black sesame are added. Besides the incredible taste, this unique range of Kinako powder is also loaded with nutrients that are fantastic for your health.
How To Enjoy It:
More than just a dessert condiment, Kinako Powder can be used in a surprising variety of recipes. For a wholesome breakfast, drizzle a little honey and sprinkle your favorite soybean flour onto buttered toast. Yum! If you are in a rush, Kinako-infused canned corn soup is a delicious option to ignite the day.
You can mix it into salad dressings for a nice touch of nutty-sweetness or use it as a seasoning base for sauces that will pair well with both meat and vegetables. It works wonderfully as a sugar substitute as well because of its natural soybean sweetness.
Healthy Snacking On The Go
A healthy and appetising breakfast is quite easy to achieve with Ibaraki’s high-quality produce. What if you are feeling peckish in between meals and you do not want to ruin your healthy diet plan with snacks? Say hello to Ibaraki Special Beniharuka Hoshi Imo (Dried Potato).
The Beniharuka Sweet Potato (Beni means Red and Haruka means Far Superior) lives up to its reputation. Sticky, moist and sweet, its naturally high sugar content gives it a unique sweet potato flavour that tastes absolutely amazing. With its golden yellow appearance, the Ibaraki Special Beniharuka Hoshi Imo will also make a splendid healthy snack for Chinese New Year!
Let’s Eat Ibaraki With WAKEARI
This one-stop Japanese online grocery is a godsend to people who are living in Singapore. Authentic and good quality Japanese ingredients are air-flown over every week, with more than 1800 types of variety in stock! There are seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, sashimi-grade seafood, meat and poultry, in-season snacks, Japanese desserts and more.
As Japanese foodies themselves, they believe that great food brings people together. At the heart of the WAKEARI team is this dedication to source for the best Japanese ingredients because of their belief that “there is a reason we want to deliver”. The reason being quality assurance and bringing the finest Japanese goods to you.
Well, we certainly derived as much joy in eating WAKEARI’s excellent food products as the team who meticulously selects them. Even browsing their tempting online food catalogue makes us tingle with excitement!
As expected of typical Japanese hospitality, WAKEARI prides itself in a responsive customer service team that answers all enquiries, in both English and Japanese. For a limited period, SHOPPIN'GUU readers will be entitled to a 10 per cent discount on their bill(excluding sales item and the minimum spend is $50) when they use the promo code <WAKEARI10> from today till 22 February. Let’s start eating Ibaraki!
(Product photos from: WAKEARI)