Some of the most comforting — and joy-sparking — dishes are the ones that require only a few ingredients and almost no time. They are the simple meals we eat with someone we love after a long week of travel. Quick soups that soothe a high temperature and low spirits. Or the late-night snacks we make when dinner guests have stayed long enough to feel hungry again.
In Japan, ochazuke, or green tea rice, is one such dish. The name comes from ocha (tea) and tsuke (submerge), and it is exactly that: steamed rice soaked in green tea or green-tea infused dashi. Ochazuke is a light meal suitable for both cold and warm weather and the perfect quick bite for when hunger requires immediate attention. A small bowl is enough to satisfy the appetite and the spirit.
Though we’ve included a recipe below, ochazuke doesn’t require one. The beauty of the dish is that you can make it with whatever you have on hand! Use any toppings and seasonings that spark joy for you. If you’re especially hungry, top your bowl with leftover salmon or any other protein of choice — or add a 7-minute egg. During the hottest months, make ochazuke with cold tea instead for a meal that’s as cooling as it is comforting.
Ochazuke or Green Tea Rice
1 1⁄2 cups Japanese heirloom rice, sushi rice, or other short-grain rice, rinsed
2 cups cold water
2 tbsp. sake or mirin (optional)
1 tsp matcha tea powder or 2 tsp green tea leaves, such as genmaicha or sencha
1 tsp. salt
Toasted sesame seeds
Rice crackers, broken into pieces
Nori seaweed, shredded
Hot sauce or chili oil of choice
Step 1: Cook rice according to package instructions in a rice cooker, donabe, pressure cooker or stovetop.
Step 2: Brew 6 to 8 ounces of tea according to its recommended brewing time in a teapot or bowl. If using, stir in the sake or mirin.
Step 3: Scoop a serving of rice into a bowl. Add any toppings (toasted sesame seeds, nori, etc.) except the soy sauce, wasabi and hot sauce.
Step 4: Pour tea over rice to fill your bowl. Taste, then adjust the flavor as desired with soy sauce, hot sauce or wasabi!
Step 5: Enjoy!