Ochazuke, rice with tea

ochazuke
ochazuke is rice, tea and a lot of very Japanese stuff.

Ochazuke combines two quintessentially Japanese ingredients, plain white rice and green tea. Ochazuke is commonly served at the very end of an elaborate Japanese full course meal. It's also favored as a midnight snack, a hangover cure, or just when you want something hot and filling. It's commonly made with leftover rice, though ideally the rice should be heated up if it's cold.

The stuff that goes on top makes it flavorful. Nowadays most people use ready-made ochazuke packets, from companies like Yamamotoyama. These come in flavors such as pickled plum, salmon, wasabi and sea urchin. If you can't get a hold of such packets, here is a recipe of sorts. It's basically about rice, tea and "stuff" on top. Despite the fact that this is a make-in-a-minute kind of thing, the very Japanese-ness of the "stuff" that goes on top makes authentic ochazuke a rather difficult dish to assemble outside of Japan, unless you have a Japanese food store nearby.

Ochazuke

For one serving

  • 3/4 cup of rice. If it's cold, heat it up a bit in the microwave.
  • Hot green tea - I like to use ho-ji cha (roasted green tea), but any unflavored and not too strong green tea will do. Genmai-cha, which has toasted brown rice in it, or hatomugi-cha, tea with another toasted grain called Job's tears, would also work.
  • Toppings: basic ones are arare, tiny rice cracker pellets or crumbled rice crackers of another sort, and shredded nori seaweed. Optional: wasabi, pickled plum, salted salmon bits, mitsuba (a kind of herb), tiny semidried fish called jako, bonito flakes.

Put the rice in a bowl, Put on the toppings, and add a bit of salt to taste. Pour over hot green tea.

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