Ochazuke

Ochazuke

This traditional Japanese soup literally means to submerge in tea from the words tsuke (meaning to submerge) and cha (tea). This quintessential soup is made by pouring hot tea over white rice and then adding various salty or fishy toppings. As usual I have substituted healthier ingredients like brown rice for white, and added extra veggies. If making this vegetarian, vegan or Engine 2 make sure to leave out the salmon.

When making this recipe you will need to work quickly once you have added the rice and edamame so they don’t cool.

About the ingredients:
- Wakame is dried seaweed. You can find it in the ethnic aisle at most grocery stores, or in asian supermarkets.
- Edamame are soy beans, and easily found in the frozen section. Make sure to buy the kind that has already had the shells removed.
- Umeboshi Paste is made from Japanese ume which are pickled plums. It can also be found in the ethnic aisle.
- Miso paste is used to make miso soup and is made of fermented soybeans. It contains lots of healthy probiotics that will die if it is heated above the boiling temperature and it needs to be kept cold when stored so it is found in the refrigerated section.

For this recipe you can use whatever green tea you have on hand, provided it’s unflavored. I recommend using genmaicha, sencha or hojicha.
- Genmaicha (Gen=dark + mai=rice + cha=tea) is the customary choice for ochazuke as it is the “peoples’ tea”. For many years tea was an expensive commodity in Japan but rice was cheap, so the poor would roast brown rice and add it to the tea leaves as a way of diluting the tea so they could still enjoy it once in a while. It has a strong toasted rice flavor that compliments the grassy-ness of the sencha very well.
- Sencha is just plain Japanese green tea, it's mild flavor will work well in this recipe.
- Hojicha is a nutty tasting tea made by roasting green tea leaves. This gives it a brownish color when brewed.

Makes: 1 serving

Preparation time:
Cooking time:
Total Time:


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried wakame
  • 1/4 cup frozen edamame (shelled)
  • 6 green beans (cut into 2" long pieces)
  • 2 cups green tea (genmaicha/sencha/hojicha )
  • 2 teaspoons umeboshi paste
  • 2 teaspoons miso paste
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot (about 1/2 a large carrot)
  • 1 shiitake mushroom (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup smoked salmon (vegetarian/vegan/Engine 2: leave this out)
  • 1 spring onion (sliced)


Equipment: saucepan


Instructions:

  1. If you have not cooked the brown rice yet, do this first as it will take much longer than the rest of the recipe. Then continue to step 2 when the rice is 5 minutes away from being ready. If you have cooked the rice then reheat it and proceed to step 2.
  2. Put the wakame, edamame and green beans into a small saucepan. Fill with water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the wakame is soft and the edamame are warm. 
  3. Prepare the green tea. Make sure not to over steep it or it will get bitter. Just a minute or so in 180ºF/80ºC water will do. Keep it hot, actually once it is brewed you can remove the tea leaves (or bag) and heat it up to boiling if desired. 
  4. Working quickly now, mix the warm brown rice with the umeboshi and miso pastes. Then use an ice cream scoop to shape it into a ball and place it into a bowl. Arrange the carrots, mushrooms, salmon and green onion in the bowl around the rice.
  5. Drain the wakame, edamame and green beans and add them to the bowl. 
  6. Serve immediately with a small pitcher filled with hot green tea. Pour the green tea over the ingredients and enjoy this traditional Japanese treat.


Special Diet:  Dairy Free, Engine 2, Gluten Free, Nightshade Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Course:  Main Dish, Soup & Stew

Culture:  Japanese


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