I am a teaholic and a big fan of Japanese food, so I’ve always wanted to make Ochazuke (お茶漬け). Ochazuke is known as Japanese tea rice. It’s basically a bowl of Japanese rice with toppings. When ready to eat, just pour freshly brewed hot tea over the rice. This dish reminds me of our local rice porridge but in a prettier form.
The version I am featuring today, umeboshi ochazuke (梅干お茶漬け), translates as pickled plum Japanese tea rice. With the strong sour-salty taste of the pickled plums, you don’t need a lot of toppings in the bowl, so it’s perfect for starters making ochazuke like me.
OCHAZUKE SHORT-CUT PREMIX PACKS
I saw these ochazuke packs at Daiso (SG) and they were what spurred me to make ochazuke. The brand name translated to English is “Shirako-Nori”. You can buy such ochazuke premixes at the Japanese supermarkets. I tried all 3 flavours and I honestly can’t tell much difference among them. So my favourite will be the one with the purple packaging, because it is the original flavour and comes in 6 sachets instead of 4. It doesn’t matter to me that there isn’t salmon (red packaging) or nozawana wasabi (green packaging) because I prefer to use my own toppings anyway.
There are individual-sized sachets inside a pack, so they are really convenient. The sachet contains granules stock, shredded seaweed & that cute tiny rice crackers (bubu arare).
I bought this shiso umeboshi (pickled dried plum) from Donki (SG). If you love salty-sourish foods, you will love this ingredient! Since the pickled plums have a strong flavour (predominantly sour & salty with a mild tinge of sweetness), the umeboshi can stand on its own in a bowl without many other toppings.
Prepare umeboshi by removing the pit and then finely chop the plum flesh.
Prepare some tea leaves in a tea pot. I happened to have a Yabukita tea blend at home which comes with added matcha powder, hence my tea is green. Usually the tea leaves you use will the hojicha type which is brown.
Add cooked Japanese rice in a bowl. I made Japanese short-grain rice with nutritious 16-grains which looks extra pretty. This was actually leftover refrigerated rice, I reheated it in the microwave with a bowl of water so this can be whipped up anytime.
Scatter the sachet of ochazuke mix onto the rice.
Add toppings – namely diced umeboshi, ikura fish roe, and sliced Japanese scallions. When you are ready, pour freshly boiled hot water to the tea pot and let the tea brew for 1 minute.
Pour some hot tea into the rice. Stir to dissolve the soup granules slightly.
It’s done! This was my pretty & pampering pick-me-up ochazuke WFH lunch special!