Translated by MATCHA
Just Add Water! Ochazuke, A Simple And Delicious Dish
Written by Ai Yoneda
Would you like to try a simple and delicious Japanese dish that you can make almost anywhere? Ochazuke is a fun, tasty treat that comes in hundreds of different varieties.
Another popular way to enjoy rice is ochazuke style. This is a very simple dish where cooked white rice is placed in a bowl, some toppings (such as dried plums or fish) are added to it, then hot Japanese tea is poured over the entire mix. While it might sound strange at first to eat your rice covered in tea, it has been a traditional dish in Japan since ancient times, and remains to this day a very popular dish all year round.
Other than using Japanese tea, there are also some types of ochazuke that use hot dashi stock, or even ones made with cold tea! The choices for toppings are vast, and there are even some regional varieties that you will only find in restaurants outside the greater Tokyo area. If you are interested in trying ochazuke for yourself, then a good place to start is at a Japanese supermarket, where you will find a great selection of popular ochazuke topping sets available. They are typically located in the same area as the packs of instant rice, but if you are having a hard time finding it, just ask the staff: "ochazuke no mono wa doko desuka?" (Where is the ochazuke mix?)
Today, let's make our own simple ochazuke using a mix from a store. All you need to do is pour water into it. Simple, right?
1. Fill Your Bowl with Rice
Fill your bowl with rice. Since you will be adding water to this, you will want to use a slightly larger bowl than usual, or put less rice into a standard bowl. Although it depends on your appetite, most will fill their bowl to about 70% capacity with rice when having ochazuke.
2. Put Ochazuke Mix on the Rice
First, open the package of ochazuke mix by tearing or cutting open the top, then dump the contents onto the rice.
Here you can see the mix in greater detail; those light green grains are actually dried tea powder, while the longer yellow ones are called arare and are made from grilled mochi. You can also see small strips of roasted nori seaweed in this kit as well.
3. Add the Water
All that's left to do it pour boiled water over the dish. Try to pour it directly onto the powder itself so that it will dissolve evenly through the dish. You should add enough water to cover the rice completely, although how much you want depends on your preferences. Since it's your first time trying it, follow these directions and see what you think!
Once everything is dissolved, you will notice that the rice has soften and really absorbed the flavors of the ochazuke mix well. You may find it hard to eat with chopsticks, so it's a good idea to enjoy this dish with a spoon instead.
A simple, delicious and hearty dish, ochazuke is a very popular breakfast choice for many. You can use leftover rice from the night before to quickly and easily fill up and start your day. It also makes for a great late night meal when you don't really feel like eating a lot. As we've said, there are many different options available when it comes to flavors, so why not find one that suits your tastes? Ochazuke is also a very light and convenient souvenir that you can easily put in a suitcase, carry-on or even a small purse!