Ochazuke by no means can be described as a fancy Japanese dish. In fact, it is just a great way to rehash old rice into a new meal or snack. Fancy? No. Classic? Yes. Typically it’s simply green tea and dashi kelp broth poured over old rice with salmon flakes, nori and pickles. And these days you can buy an instant ochazuke packet and all you need to do is have old rice sitting around! Jared definitely ate this as an alternative to instant ramen back in his college days.
After happily munching on some non-instant ochazuke at the end of our meal at Yakitori Totto, Jared decided to attempt making it from scratch at home including brewing green tea, making dashi stock and cooking his own salted salmon. He chose to use salmon belly because it has a higher fat content and stronger flavor. Look, its the good fat, so let’s not worry about it, alright? =)
Sake Ochazuke (Salmon Rice Porridge)
4oz Salted Salmon Belly
1/2 sheet Roasted Seaweed
2 cups Cooked Rice
1 cup Green Tea
1 cup Dashi Stock
Fresh Grated Wasabi
Green Onion (chopped)
Japanese pickled cucumbers
- Rub the salmon with a generous amount of salt
- Cover and let it refrigerate overnight
- Remove the salmon and rinse under cold water to remove the salt
- Dry the salmon with paper towels or a kitchen towel
- Drizzle oil over salmon and place under a broiler in low setting
- Broil for 15 minutes until a nice crust has formed
- Break apart the salmon into flakes
- Add rice to a bowl with salmon flakes, green onion and seaweed on top
- When you are ready to serve, mix the hot green tea with the stock, then season with salt to taste
One alternative that Jared made up was to add the rice to a piping hot Korean stone bowl to crisp up the rice. This gives the ochazuke a nutty burnt flavor and crunchy texture to this dish. Eat it while it is hot with your favorite Japanese pickles.
3×3 inch Kombu (sea kelp)
A Handful Shaved Bonito flakes
3 cups Water
- Wipe the surface of the kombu with a wet towel to remove the residues
- In a stock pot add 3 cups of water and kombu
- Simmer on low for 20 minutes and remove the kombu
- Add a handful of shaved Bonito flakes and let it simmer on low for 20 minutes
- Strain the stock
To serve, fill your bowl with rice, top it with the salted salmon, chopped green onions and seaweed and pour the green tea and dashi stock to submerge the contents. Mix in the wasabi to taste to add a subtle kick to the dish.
Needless to say, I don’t think Jared nor I can go back to instant packet ochazuke anymore! It requires a little bit more work but it was definitely worth it. Dehydrated salmon just won’t cut it for us anymore. This is so simple, delicious and comforting.