Most people tend to feast towards the end of the year just before they make New Year's resolutions to eat healthy or to lose weight, etc. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year is just around the corner. My stomach has been feeling tired lately and I've been eating simple foods that sooth my stomach. Among those healing foods, ochazuke comes top of my list.
Ochazuke (or sometimes refered as chazuke) is one of the most popular simple fastfoods eaten in Japan over thousands of years. It's a bowl of rice with a variety of toppings served in tea. And the word Ochazuke literally translates as submerged in tea. You can read more about it at Wikipedia.
The most common toppings are umeboshi, baked salted salmon, nori, wasabi or mentaiko. But there are no rules of what you can use or can't use. I used shungiku, umeboshi, shiso, wasabi and nori in mine.
In 1952, instant ochazuke was invented in Japan, which contains freeze-dried toppings and seasonings. With this product, all you need are a bowl of rice and hot water.
If you are not sure whether you will like ochazuke or not, I recommend trying the instant kind first. They are available in Japanese grocery stores or Amazon.
If you are familar with these Japanese ingredients and would like to try making your own, here is the recipe.
A bowl of rice*
2 stalks Shungiku, chopped**
2-3 Umeboshi with pickled shiso
1 tsp Wasabi
Green Tea, freshly brewed and hot
1/3 sheet Dried Nori, cut or tear
Salt to taste
Assemble toppings (shungiku, umeboshi, shiso, wasabi) on the rice. Pour hot green tea
over the rice roughly in the same proportion as milk over cereal. Sprinkle nori and salt. Should be eaten as soon as you pour the hot tea.
*You can use any type of Japanese short-grain rice (i.e., brown, white, haiga, etc). Haiga rice is kind of between brown and white and it's my favorite. It's not as hard as brown rice and it has the stickiness like white rice. Haiga rice has become the staple rice for me.
If you prefer mildly warm food, use rice that's at room temperature or even cold for ochazuke.
**You can replace this with other greens like spinach or mitsuba.