Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Hello everyone. You might have seen a post I made in January titled, "..a little detox anyone.?" The recipe was for "ochazuke" - a simple dish consisting of a bowl of rice in hot water with some fish and vegetable toppings. Ochazuke must be the oldest dish in Japanese history - it certainly goes back 1,000 + years. Apparently, it began because people hit upon the fact that they could make cooked rice that was a few days old more palatable by re-hydrating it. So, they started to add hot water to old rice. Then someone hit upon the idea of adding tea instead. When the fashion for consuming green tea hit Japan in the sixteenth century, this also became a popular addition to a bowl of rice. More recently still, dashi stock became another way of creating an ochazuke.
Nobody seems to know quite when, but at some point toppings were also added and suddenly, you had a simple, one bowl meal that could be eaten at home or on the go. Fast forward to the twentieth century and the 1950s saw the creation of instant ochazuke, little packets of dried toppings and flavourings that you just sprinkled over a bowl of rice before adding hot water. The first maker to market was a tea company called nagatani-en and they are still a brand leader today. Packs of instant ochazuke are founds in every supermarket in Japan and I doubt there's a Japanese home that doesn't have a pack or two somewhere in the kitchen. In the last few years, some manufacturers have realised that there might be more to instant ochazuke than the little packs available. One such
company, yamane-en (which, like nagatani-en, also has its roots in the tea business), has started producing high end instant ochazuke that come with toppings but also a broth concentrate and, say, a small fillet of fish to place on your rice. The one on the left actually has a fillet of "fugu" or blowfish, to add to your ochazuke - now that makes for a pretty luxurious ochazuke! The last time I was back in Japan, I purchased a few of their packs, the "fugu" on the left, a pack with clams, one with a salmon fillet and one which came with three different types of seaweed. I have to admit, they are a big step up from "normal" instant ochazuke. Thinking about it, they would make a great souvenir from Japan!
If you haven't come across ochazuke before, I've put together two quick Youtube tutorials which you can find here and here (there's not too much involved in making instant ochazuke as you have probably gathered!).
On the other hand, if you want to try making your own, then check out the Youtube tutorial for my Salmon Ochazuke or scroll to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.
For a "high end home made" ochazuke, take a look at my friend Yumiko's Sea Bream Sashimi Ochazuke - you can find the written recipe for Yumiko's recipe below as well.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.
Yumiko's Sea Bream Sashimi Ochazuke
(makes 2 servings):
350g cooked short grain rice
150g fresh sashimi grade sea bream
2 tbsps sesame seeds, toasted and rough ground
2 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps mirin
400ml japanese dashi stock
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
(topping) 1 nori sheet cut into small shreds
3 shiso leaves cut into shreds
slice the sea bream diagonally in 3-4mm slices
marinade the sea bream in the sesame, soy sauce and mirin for 5 mins
put 1/2 the rice into each serving bowl
sprinkle the shredded nori onto the rice
top with the sea bream
garnish with the shiso and a piece of wasabi
heat the stock to simmer and add soy sauce and salt
pour the dashi over the bream and rice and serve immediately
Kurumi's Ochazuke with Salmon
(makes 2 servings)
1 spring onion
a handful of rocket
1/2 nori sheet
1/2 tsp salt
400ml boiling water
1 heaped tsp of japanese dashi granules
500g cooked rice
2 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
a little wasabi
rinse & finely slice the spring onion
rinse & roughly cut the rocket
halve the nori sheet and then halve twice more, then shred using scissors
saute the salmon in a non-stick frying pan with a little salt for 3 mins
turn over and sprinkle over the rest of the salt & cook for a further 3 mins
remove the skin from the salmon in a bowl and break them into small pieces
pour the dashi granules into the boiling water in a jug & stir until the granules have dissolved
place 1/2 the rice in each serving bowl, then scatter 1/2 the flaked salmon over the rice, sprinkle over the sesame seeds, spring onion & shredded nori, then add a little ball of wasabi & top with 1/2 the rocket
finally pour 1/2 of the dashi stock into the bowl before serving immediately