Ochazuke is a light meal made by pouring hot tea over steamed rice. Though you may not be very hungry, ochazuke is very easy to eat. This is the perfect meal after drinking or when you want to grab a quick snack.
Ochazuke Recipe (Salmon Ikura Chazuke and Umeboshi Shirasu Takana Chazuke)
Let’s prepare the salted salmon fillet. Remove the excess moisture with a paper towel. Sprinkle the sake on both sides to cover the fish smell. We recommend to do this process as soon as possible after purchasing the salmon.
Before cooking, remove the sake with a paper towel. Place the fillet into a heated pan and sauté on medium heat. Remove the fat thoroughly from the pan with a paper towel. This will prevent the fat from scorching and smoking.
Sauté until brown and flip it over. Reduce the heat and sauté the other side thoroughly. The upside of sauteing salmon in a pan is that it doesn’t give off much smoke and the cleanup is easy.
When both sides are browned, remove the fillet. When cooled, completely remove the skin and bones. Roughly crumble the fillet.
Let’s toast the sesame seeds. Put the toasted sesame seeds into a heated pan. Thoroughly roast the seeds over low heat while occasionally shaking the pan. Feel the seeds with your fingers. If they are hot, remove and put the sesame into a suribachi mortar.
Coarsely grind the seeds with a surikogi pestle. This will help you absorb their nutrients.
Let’s cut the toppings for the Ochazuke. Cut the shiso leaves lengthwise in half. Stack the leaves and chop into fine strips with diagonal cuts. Cut the mitsuba parsley into about 3 inch lengths. Line them up and chop into fine pieces.
Cut the takana-zuke, pickled takana greens, into manageable pieces as well; line them up and chop finely.
Remove the stone of the umeboshi, pickled Japanese plum. Chop up the umeboshi flesh with a knife, making umeboshi paste.
Let’s make the Ochazuke. Pour hot water into a tea pot to warm it up.
Lightly place the hot steamed rice into a rice bowl. Sprinkle on the crumbled toasted nori seaweed. Place the crumbled salmon fillet onto the center of the rice. Then place the ikura shoyu-zuke, marinated salmon roe, next to the fillet. Sprinkle on the chopped mitsuba parsley and toasted sesame seeds.
Discard the hot water and put hojicha tea leaves into the warmed tea pot. Pour hot water into the pot and allow to sit for just under a minute.
Pour the hojicha tea into the bowl. Add the wasabi to taste.
Next, let’s make another type of Ochazuke. Lightly place the hot steamed rice into a rice bowl. Sprinkle on the chopped takana-zuke. Place the chopped shiso leaves, shirasu, whitebait and umeboshi onto the center of the rice. Sprinkle on the toasted sesame seeds.
Pour hot water into the tea pot again and pour the hojicha tea into the bowl. There is no need to add extra salt to this Ochazuke, since umeboshi, shirasu and takana-zuke contain enough salt.
You can also enjoy the Ochazuke with regular green tea instead of hojicha tea.
The degree of saltiness of Ochazuke depends on your choice of toppings so you may need to add extra salt to taste.
If you can't find the toppings in your area, look for savory salted ingredients as substitutes.
You might also enjoy the video on how to make Tai Chazuke (Sea Bream Chazuke).