Y’know, it’s interesting: Japan talks a lot about ‘stamina’ foods, yet in my native U.K. I never heard nary a whisper about such things. I’ve no doubt that both countries have their fare share of foodstuffs that boost the old stamina reserves, but why does Japan make a big song and dance about it? It could be something to do with the approach to work: many Japanese are workaholics, as well as big foodies, so what better place to look for an energy top-up than what’s on the plate?
A classic example of a stamina-rich dish is curry. Two other, more Japan-specific stamina dishes include ‘stamina natto’ (natto beans mixed with minced chicken, garlic and leek) and ‘buta kimchi’ (pork mixed with with kimchi). So what if you could have those two combine into one uber stamina mega-meal for the ultimate stamina boost? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the SUPER STAMINA DON! Best of all, it’s super simple to make – perfect if you’re low on power and need an easy but effective fix.
For this dish, you’ll need (serves one):
Kimchi (150 – 200g)
Thin slices of pork (100-150g)
Two packs of normal natto
Plain rice (about 1 onigiri’s worth)
- Cook the pork on a frying pan until brown. Add some salt and pepper if you like.
- Add the kimchi and mix well. Turn off the heat.
- Mix the natto as normal, adding the little brown sauce packets but not the karashi (the tiny packs of mustard that usually come with natto)
- Mix natto into the frying pan. Stir well, until the natto has become…well, for lack of a better word, slimy.
- Put you rice in a big bowl then pour your pork-kimchi-natto mix on top of it.
- Fry up an egg in the frying pan and place on top of the bowl. Done!
For those of you who aren’t keen on the natto, fear not: the kimchi juices suck up most of that familiar natto flavour, making it much more palatable. Alternatively you can use ‘tamago natto’, which is normal natto with an egg-flavored sauce. Many people find this version of natto much more accessible (including me!)
Serve up your Super Stamina Don with a simple salad that includes some raw red pepper; it will complement the hot kick of the kimchi well.