Ochazuke (お茶漬け), or chazuke, is really quite simple; it is green tea poured over rice, like milk over cereal. What really brings this dish to life is the toppings that go along with it. Umeboshi (pickled plums), shiozake (salted salmon), wasabi, kakimochi (rice crackers), nori, and fresh herbs like mitsuba are all usual suspects. Some variants of ochazuke use dashi or plain water, but I like the flavor green tea adds.
There are commercial packets you can buy, and then all you need is rice and hot water. These are very convenient for a packed lunch for work, I can run out the door with a bowl of leftover rice and all I need is some hot water to make a nice lunch at work of hot ochazuke.
However, I have a recipe here for when you want a homemade ochazuke, and I think you will enjoy the hearty amount of salmon and the ability to salt to your taste since the commercial packets can be quite salty.
|The commercial ochazuke lacks big pieces of salmon!|
You can add whatever you like to your ochazuke, but usually you want things that are going to either add flavor or texture, otherwise you will have some pretty boring tea flavored rice. Hence the use of sour umeboshi or salty salmon for zing, and rice crackers and nori for crunch. Contrary to the name "Sake Chazuke" it actually has no alcohol; "sake" here refers to salmon.
Shiojake/shiozake (塩鮭) is salmon that has been salted and then grilled or broiled until flaky. You can buy it from the Japanese grocer pre-salted or make your own. You can even buy cooked shiozake flakes from the Japanese market, but shiozake freezes well so it is more economical to make your own and shred/crumble as needed. You could even shred a portion and then freeze! It's a good project for when you see salmon at a good price.
|Before the tea, still delicious!|
Sake Ochazuke (鮭 お茶漬け)
1 cup of rice (leftover rice works great)
1 cup hot green tea
1 tbs kakimochi
2 tbs salmon crumbles
small piece off a sheet of nori, cut into strips or torn into small pieces
wasabi to taste (optional)
If the leftover rice is cold, microwave it enough to warm it up. It doesn't need to be hot, since you will be warming it up further with the hot tea. Crush the rice crackers, or leave them whole if they are small. Place the rice in a bowl and top with the kakimochi and nori. Pour the green tea over the toppings and add a pinch of salt and the wasabi to taste. Serve with tsukemono.
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