Ochazuke is a simple dish, quick and easy to prepare, and a great way to use up leftover rice. Its basically made by pouring hot tea or dashi broth over cooked rice, and topped with a variety of savory toppings. I like to keep it basic, topping it only with salted salmon, wasabi, nori and furikake. Other toppings may include umeboshi (pickled plum), sesame seeds, shiokara (pickled seafood), tarako and mentaiko (salted and marinated pollack roe). Its a very refreshing, low-fat dish I like to make when I’m in the mood for something healthy and nutritious.
Supposedly, in the olden days in Kyoto, if a guest overstayed their welcome, the host would offer him/her some ochazuke. This would be a polite way for the host to indicate they would like the guest to leave. Interesting, isn’t it? I usually make ochazuke without a recipe, but today, I tried to take note of the proportions used and how I made it for this post.
Green Tea Ochazuke with Salted Salmon
1 6-ounce salmon fillet
2 cups of steamed rice
2 Japanese green tea bags
6 cups of water
1 t dashi powder
Dash of coarsely ground black pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
Seasoned nori, cut into thin strips (I like to use one individual package of the Korean seasoned seaweed)
Begin by salting the salmon fillet on both sides, using a generous 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt per side, depending on the size of the salmon fillet. The salmon should not be caked with salt, but you want to use more than just a dash of salt. Then, season both sides with a dash of ground pepper. Let the salmon sit for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil 6 cups of water in a medium-sized pot, then bring down to a simmer. Add the two tea bags and dashi powder, stirring occasionally. If you have loose-leaf green tea, you could place 1 T of green tea leaves in a tea ball and use this in place of the tea bags. The loose tea leaves will impart a stronger flavor, naturally, but in a pinch, tea bags also work. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
Heat up the grill to medium-high heat. I use our electric Cuisinart Griddler, so if you’re using a real grill outside, this step may vary. Lightly oil the salmon fillet, then place onto the grill top. Cook the salmon on one side for approximately 7 minutes, until it appears the fillet has begun to cook all the way through. Do not disturb or move the fish during this time. Then, lightly oil the top of the fillet, gently flip it over and cook for an additional 2 minutes. The fish is ready when it flakes easily with a fork.
Place a scoop of rice into a bowl and top with nori, ochazuke furikake, a dollop of wasabi, and a portion of the salmon fillet. Pour the green tea dashi broth over the rice as you would with milk over cereal. Stir to mix the ingredients and break up the salmon. Serve immediately.