Cooking With Tea: A Recipe for Japanese Ochazuke Rice

Rice rice, baby. Ochazuke is nourishing Japanese comfort food that combines rice, savory toppings, and a green tea broth. Whip up a bowl with this lickety-split recipe.

Japanese ochazuke, which roughly translates as “submerged in tea,” is a culinary gem: tasty, good for you, comforting, and incredibly easy to make. This simple yet delicious dish is basically leftover rice bedecked with a hodgepodge of savory toppings, then doused with a “broth” of hot green tea. The result is a wonderfully soupy, nourishing concoction that for many Japanese is comfort food at its best, along the lines of the rice congee that many East Asians have for breakfast.

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With a couple months of winter still to go, we’re deep in the throes of soup weather over here. But a healthy, warming bowl of ochazuke goes down easy any time of year. It can be easily whipped up when you’re tired or under the weather, or cobbled together out of fridge leftovers when you get home late from the bar and your stomach is growling. Pretty much any Japanese green tea will work as the broth but our favorite is our charcoal-roasted houjicha, Daily Toast, which has a nice nutty depth to it.

Simple, quick, scrumptious: home cooking at its best. Scroll down for the recipe.

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Ingredients for 1 serving:
1 piece of salmon, approx. 80-100 g, fresh or frozen (vegetarians: use firm tofu)
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1½ teaspoons soy sauce
1½ cups leftover rice (white or brown)
2½ teaspoons of Daily Toast (or another of our Japanese green teas)
1½ cups hot water
Toppings:
½ sheet nori seaweed, snipped into thin ribbons with scissors
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Handful of steamed greens: bok choy, spinach or kale all work well
Chopped scallion and cilantro, to taste
Other topping ideas:
Umeboshi plums, pickled ginger, mung bean sprouts, cooked and shelled edamame beans, bonito flakes, Sriracha hot sauce
Preparation:
Combine grated ginger and soy sauce, and pour over the salmon. Bake in a 175 °C (350 °F) oven until the fish flakes easily with a fork – about 15 minutes for fresh salmon, or 25 for frozen. Let the salmon cool slightly and then shred it coarsely. If you’re of the vegetarian persuasion, follow these same steps with some thickly sliced tofu and bake it ‘til crispy. Feeling lazy? Just use canned tuna or salmon. We won’t tell.
Now make your tea using your brewing vessel of choice. Let it infuse for 2 minutes, then strain.
Mound your leftover rice in the center of an amply sized bowl. Add the flaked salmon on top, followed by the rest of the toppings. Got some leftover cooked vegetables in the fridge? The more, the merrier!
Finally, slowly pour over the hot tea, circling around the edge of the bowl so your delicate mound of toppings stays intact. Grab a spoon and enjoy – slurping encouraged.
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Try Daily Toast

Our classic houjicha is green tea that has been charcoal-roasted to yield robust aromas of nuts and malt. Daily Toast is not only delicious for drinking, it also makes a mighty fine ochazuke.

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