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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.

Ingredients

  • 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, but any green tea will do. Not chai or "gunpowder tea" etc! Use green tea made from tea leaves. Genmai-cha, which has toasted brown rice in it, or Oolong tea 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.

Directions

  1. Put the rice in a bowl.
  2. Add toppings and a bit of salt to taste. 
  3. Pour over hot green tea.
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