Ochazuke is ultimately rice and green tea! It is a fantastic way to use up left over rice and is a really pretty and delicate dish where all the ingredients have their chance in the spotlight. Rice is such an important food source for Japanese people, and Nori’s family, who grow their own rice, take it pretty seriously. In fact, if a few grains are left in someone’s bowl, they call them ‘the tears of the farmer’ – no rice is wasted in our house! The left over rice is transformed into something special with a subtle broth of dashi, genmaicha and soy.
Genmaicha translates to ‘brown rice tea’ and is a green tea combined with roasted rice. It has a lovely nuttiness and compliments the dish really well. You can find Genmaicha in Japanese supermarkets, like Hinoki Japanese Pantry, in Fitzroy, which is our go-to for all Japanese items. If you are unable to find any, just use normal green tea! For the dashi stock, you can buy it already prepared in granule form or make some with bonito flakes, like we do. Whichever you choose, simply follow the directions on the packet.
Ochazuke is quite a traditional dish, quickly prepared in the home with left over rice and fish or just pickles or shiso flakes, and for this reason, it is not often seen on menus here in Australia. In Japan, however, restaurants and Izakayas do serve fancy versions with top quality produce and expensive fish. For me, this dish epitomizes Japanese cooking – good quality ingredients, simple preparation and clean flavours. We love to eat this dish during the week when we feel like something nourishing, but simple and easy.
- 1.5 cups short-grain rice
For the broth
- 400ml dashi stock
- 400ml genmaicha, brewed according to the directions on the packet
- 1tbsp soy sauce
For the tuna
- 250g sashimi grade tuna, sliced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- Nori sheets, cut into strips
- Sesame seeds
- Spring onions, finely sliced
- Shiso leaves
Rinse the rice and transfer to a medium saucepan. Cover the rice with enough water to come up 2cm above the rice. Cook covered on a low heat until all the water has been absorbed (12-15 minutes). Leave covered for a further 5 minutes. Set aside.
To marinate the tuna, place tuna in a small non-reactive container or dish and add remaining ingredients. Marinate for 10 minutes. Be sure to keep the marinade, as you will pour some over the tuna and rice later.
To make the broth, in a large saucepan, combine dashi stock, genmaicha and soy sauce. Bring up to simmering point and take off heat.
To assemble the dish, place some rice in individual serving bowls. Arrange slices of the marinated tuna on top of the rice and pour over a little of the remaining marinade in each bowl. Scatter over shredded nori, sesame seeds, spring onions and shiso leaves. Gently pour the hot broth around the rice and serve.