Ochazuke: a delicious Japanese tea soup
You can’t see me but I’m doing a little happy dance over here, because my trip to Japan is fast approaching!! I’ve never been to Japan in the wintertime and I’m super excited to visit again one of my favorite countries in the world. Cold weather means hot tea and comforting dishes and I will definitely be on the lookout for the best ochazuke, a Japanese tea and rice soup, basically the epitome of comfort food (but healthy). Usually, genmaicha and hojicha are the teas of choice but sencha and matcha can also be used. Today I’m testing out a recipe from Bon Appetit magazine, which you can find here.
I modified it a little bit but I think it’s a great recipe, I really enjoyed the crispiness of the rice patties and the slight astringency of the tea, to which you may or may not want to add soy sauce. I found the final result, both with and without soy sauce, simply addictive. I can see myself adding this recipe to my weekly repertoire, for lunch or even breakfast!
For 2 servings
½ cup sushi rice (yields 4 rice patties)
¾ cup water
3 cups water at 170-175 F
½ cup green tea leaves (I used half genmaicha and half sencha)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more for brushing
2 handfuls baby spinach
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
toasted sesame seeds
shredded toasted nori seaweed
For my sushi rice, I followed the instruction on the package. Rinse rice until water runs clear. Soak rice in water for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the heat and let steam, covered, for 10 more minutes. Let cool until it’s a comfortable temperature for handling. Wet your hands and firmly compress rice into balls, then gently flatten. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet. Brush one side of rice cakes with soy sauce. Cook, soy sauce side down, until golden brown, 5 minutes. Brush tops of rice cakes with soy sauce. Turn and cook until golden brown, another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Poach the eggs and set aside. I didn’t cook the spinach, I just let the heat of the tea do the job. Easy. Heat 3 cups of water to 170-175 F. Add tea and let steep 2 minutes. Strain and discard leaves. Stir in remaining soy sauce, if you like. If not, it’s delicious as is. Divide rice cakes, spinach and eggs among bowls. Pour tea or tea and soy sauce mixture over, then top with scallions, sesame seeds and nori. Enjoy!
What is your tea of choice for ochazuke?
What is your protein of choice?
I heard salmon is a very popular topping too! Let me know in the comment section!