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Combine the dashi in a medium saucepan with the soy sauce, mirin, and sake and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat a bit, then add the chicken or tofu; adjust the heat so the mixture simmers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 or 3 minutes.
Beat the eggs in a bowl with the scallions and add, slowly, to the bubbling mixture; let cook, undisturbed, until the eggs edges are set, then stir once or twice.
(The egg should not be fully set; it will finish cooking before you eat it.
) Put the hot rice in 4 deep soup bowls and pour the soup over it.
Crumble the nori and sprinkle it over the top if youre using it and serve.
In step 1, you may use water instead of dashi (though dashi is still preferable).
Add the seasonings, then 1 thinly sliced carrot, 1 thinly sliced onion, 4 thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushroom caps, and, if you like, a few leaves of spinach.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables soften.
Add the tofu and proceed.