Ochazuke is a dish in which hot tea is poured over cooked white rice topped with a few simple ingredients. It is a deceptively simple yet extremely tasty dish beloved by all Japanese. Ochazuke can be enjoyed as a light meal or snack at any time of day, and it is extremely easy to prepare. All you need to do is put some simple ingredients on a bowl of hot white rice and pour a cup of tea over it.
Of course, the flavor of the dish will improve if you are particular about the rice, the type of tea, and the topping. Favorite Japanese toppings are pickled plums (umeboshi), dried sea laver (nori), grilled salmon, soy-simmered fish and seaweed, tempura, broiled eel, and so on. Alternatives from Western cuisine are grilled chicken, grilled salmon, pickled cucumber, smoked salmon, and oysters marinated in oil.
Various seasonings can be added for flavor, such as sesame seeds, Japanese horseradish (wasabi), or freshly grated ginger. Ochazuke is normally served in a bowl large enough to hold the rice and a generous amount of tea. Individual salad bowls, large breakfast cups, or cereal bowls are good substitutes.
1. Season the salmon with salt and leave for 10 minutes. Broil or grill 5-6 minutes, until slightly brown. Remove the skin and bones, if any, and break up the flesh into flakes.
2. Make the tea broth by adding hot water to the tea leaves.
3. Place the rice in a large bowl and sprinkle salmon flakes over the rice. Add the trefoil, croutons, and, if you wish, a dab of horseradish.
4. Pour as much hot tea as you want onto the rice and eat immediately.
Note: Ochazuke tastes even better when accompanied by good-quality Japanese salted pickled vegetables or any Western-style pickles. Cold ochazuke is recommended for summer. For this, use iced sencha, mizudashi-sencha, or any type of green tea that has been cooled down.
Reprinted with permission from the book:
New Tastes in Green Tea
by Mutsuko Tokunaga
New Tastes in Green Tea is an original cookbook that ushers an underappreciated flavor into the kitchen as a beverage and a cooking ingredient. The range of recipes is startling. Green Tea Latte, Matcha Smoothie, or Iced Matcha au Lait take "the greens" in new directions. Mouthwatering recipes for gratin, quiche, pastas, and desserts will enliven the adventurous cook's culinary repertoire
Whether you are looking for a bevy of palate-pleasing drinks or savory new food recipes, New Tastes in Green Tea is a must-have for anyone seeking to appreciate the versatility and elegant flavorings of one of the world's most healthful beverages.
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