Tantan-spiced loaded breakfast toast

My favorite Japanese movie is a cult classic. You’d assume from that opening I’m embarking on a “Binging With Babish” cinema homage, but quite the opposite. Juzo Itami’s “Tampopo” (1985) opened my eyes to why it is so hard to nail the nuance of a good bowl of ramen in the confines of the home kitchen (or a 500-word recipe). Of course I’ve tried, as I suspect many have.

The inherent paradox is that the simpler a dish seems, the harder it is to get right. Even with an interest in slow food, I am happily resigned to leaving ramen to the craftspeople, who execute the dish for less profit than their dedication deserves.

When I have done noodles at home, I have had more success with the bolder tantanmen. As I played with various nut butters, all of which were individually in my breakfast rotation, it struck me that they could be combined into a toast topping. Having enrolled loved ones as beta tasters, I am willing to out myself as the punchline of a David Chang quip about toast lovers and suggest that, when combined, many common ingredients make a conversation-worthy and uncommonly delicious topping.

This recipe might seem simple, but it’s become a staple for me at breakfast, especially if I want a spicy start to the day. To help it transition into a light lunch or dinner, simply fry ground pork or crisp bacon in sesame oil with seasoning and add it on top, perhaps even with a fried egg, and then finish with the assorted nuts and seeds.

The nut butter mix can also be made in bulk and kept refrigerated for about a week. If toast isn’t your thing, this quick addition can make a big flavor difference to the blandest of cup noodles, instead.

Prep: 5 mins.; cook: 5-10 mins.

Makes 2 slices of toast

• 1 teaspoon peanut butter (smooth or creamy)

• 1 teaspoon almond butter

• 1 teaspoon nerigoma sesame paste or tahini

• ½ teaspoon tobanjan Chinese chili bean paste

• 2 slices of your favorite bread

• Butter (optional)

• Assorted nuts (pecan, almond, cashew)

• Assorted seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)

• Rāyu chili oil

1. Mix the peanut and almond butters, nerigoma and tobanjan pastes together in a bowl.

2. Toast the slices of bread, and butter if desired.

3. Split the nut butter paste mix between the two slices.

4. Top with nuts, seeds and chili oil, or even a bit of your favorite hot sauce.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

__Posted on
__Categories
English