Ochazuke is a dish that anybody who has spent time in Japan is familiar with. The meaning of Ochazuke is “steeped in green tea”. Ochazuke in its simplest form is simply white rice with green tea poured over it – It’s the perfect dish when you are getting over a stomach flu and need something bland to fill you up when you can’t eat anything heavy. So I almost think of it as the equivalent of dry toast or soda crackers in the West.
But just like you can embellish toast or crackers with amazing spreads, dips and toppings, Ochazuke can be embellished and made into a sophisticated and delicious dish. Technically, the recipe I am going to share with you is for “Dashi Chazuke” – where the rice is steeped in a delicious dashi soup instead of green tea. The dashi imparts a delicious umami flavor on this dish and the toppings add a lot to the meal. Instead of a bland bowl of rice, the dashi transforms the dish into a meal fit for a King! But you could always substitute green tea for the dashi if you want a dish that is more traditional.
Tea or dashi, there are a few ingredients that you almost always find in Ochazuke that you will need to have on hand:
- Thin cut nori – Nori, or laver, is pressed seaweed that normally is sold in sheets. It’s the same ingredient that sushi is wrapped with.
- Bubu Arare – Bubu Arare are miniature rice crackers shaped into tiny balls. They taste like a crunchy version of puffed brown rice add flavor and texture to your ochazuke.
- Shirogoma – White sesame seeds are usually added for flavor and texture as well.
- Wasabi – You can almost always find a small amount of grated wasabi served with ochazuke. Wasabi adds a kick to the rice without overpowering the dish.
- White rice– I use the same short grained white rice that is used to make sushi. But almost any type of rice will work.
- Green Tea or Dashi – Green tea or dashi both work very well. Tea is lighter and more bland, where dashi when flavored properly adds tremendous flavor to the dish.
Toppings are also a must for homemade ochazuke. Umeboshi plums, Mentaiko (cod roe), salmon flakes, and Konbu are all popular toppings to enjoy over your meal. I like to mix them up but some people would rather stick with their favorite.
‘Try out this delicious recipe and let us know what you think in the comments section, below.