Ever since I was able to begin helping my mother in the kitchen, rather than simply prancing around in a frilly apron and getting to lick the spoon, I was taught that the preparation of a dish was more about what it did for the person eating it than the effort and thought that went into preparing it. Of course dishes have their own significance, whether it is for festive reasons or for chasing away bad luck for the new year. But, with my Chinese background, it has come to my understanding that every dish is created for the person eating it for a particular reason – to bring happiness, to clear excess air, to cleanse the system after festive eating, to improve blood circulation, to bring radiance to the skin and brightness to the eye, etc. Eating isn’t great because it’s necessary for survival. It isn’t amazing because it’s just scrumptious. It’s marvellous because it’s so clever.
Nothing goes into a dish for no reason. And so, with this mentality in mind, I whipped this up for lunch. After weeks of poor nutrition and sloppy eating, I wanted to make something that would fill me up, be healthy enough, have sufficient amount of protein and vitamins in it, cleanse and cut through all that grease in my system and have a comforting warm broth to chase away the wintry cold. Ochazuke is usually made with leftover rice, just like chahan or egg fried rice. Nothing goes to waste in winter! Get a bowl of rice, top it with whatever you fancy and pour hot green tea over it. Delicious and ready in a flash. Not to forget, it’s good for you. Genius, isn’t it?
Although this dish is very simple, I hear what makes it so good is using good quality ingredients for toppings. I think my efforts came to a B+, good enough for me really! What would make it so much better would be a couple more exciting toppings like umeboshi and some furikake. Despite that, my ochazuke was still utterly comforting and healing. Delicately flavoured and very visually appealing in my opinion. When I make this again, I hope to use grilled eel for the topping as I bet that would make the broth taste insanely good! If you’re wondering what sort of green tea I’ve used, it’s a 旨み濃いめ緑茶: a blend of sencha (煎茶), karigane (かりがね) and matcha (抹茶).
This recipe is good for 1. I highly recommend not being lazy and warming your bowl in the oven before serving, as this makes eating it twice as good!
75g Japanese rice
about 150ml water, for cooking
1/2 tbs black sesame seeds
1/2 tbs white sesame seeds
4-5 sheets of nori seaweed
pinch of salt/ajinomoto (optional)
1 cup prepared green tea
Wash rice. Soak the rice in water for 20 minutes. Wash and drain. Rinse well. Add rice to the prepared water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then cover and let simmer for 10 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 25 minutes.
Once ready to serve, prepare the green tea of choice. Remember not to use boiling water. Follow the instructions on the packet. Transfer rice to a deep bowl. Top the rice with sesame seeds and seaweed. You can vary your toppings. I’ve kept it simple, clean and easy. Place prepared meat on top and sprinkle with salt. Pour the hot tea over the meat, until it just covers the rice. Serve.
Yakitori (焼き鳥 やきとり)
1 chicken thigh/breast
1-3 spring onions
2 tbs sake
3 tbs dark soy sauce (I’ve used normal soy)
1 tbs mirin
1/2 tbs sugar
about 3-4 short wooden skewers
Some recipes have you mix the ingredients together to form a sauce and then boil it so it thickens. You can get yakitori sauce in a bottle as well. But I’ve decided to go for just basting the chicken as it is with a thin sauce since this will go with the ochazuke rather than plain white rice. I didn’t want it to get really saucy and messy since the whole point of the dish is something tasty but clean. I didn’t want the sauce to affect the broth of the ochazuke.
Chop up the spring onions into 1.5 inches long, keeping the white bit from above the roots to about halfway up the green leaves. I find this bit to be the most flavourful. Chop up the chicken into nice bite sizes. Alternating chicken meat with spring onion, skewer them.
Set the grill to about 190d Celsius. Brush and drizzle the prepared yakitori sauce over the skewers and place under the grill. Brush on the sauce every 3 minutes or so. Once the top side is nicely brown, flip over the skewers and baste with the sauce. Repeat the basting process until the skewered meat is cooked through and the chicken is nicely brown. This should take about 20-25 minutes to cook. If you prefer not to cook them under a grill, cooking them over a bbq should be pretty good too.
Oh yum! I LOVE ochazuke, and now you’ve got me starving!
Fuji Mama on January 17th,
Ooh, that does look like a light, but hearty meal. Good for the soul not to be a glutton 😉 I can’t say I’ve had ochazuke before but it does look good!
Manggy on January 18th,
I like your creativity with the topping:-) If you can find some salted kombu it also makes a great topping.
Marc @ NoRecipes on January 19th,
Ooh yes, can see you bouncing around in a frilly apron trying to lick the spoon!! This is quite exotic Diva, & more like an A+ from me. The list of ingredients are out of reach for me…beautiful pic.
deeba on January 19th,
You’re right, it is a good looking dish! I’ll bet it tastes as good or better than it looks, too.
Elle on January 19th,
This is making me so hungry! Perfect-looking yakitori
syrie on January 20th,
I am a huge fan of Japanese food and these yakitori looks absolutely delicious =D
noobcook on January 20th,
This looks pretty darn DELISH. YUMMY… the plating looks nice as well.
Girl Japan on January 20th,
Fuji Mama: yay. i just love the broth and the colour, now don’t you!
Manggy: indeed. eating this, you feel cleansed and so very not a glutton.
[email protected]: thank you. I will keep a lookout for it. although it’s hard to get japanese food products in england. it’s just so expensive!
deeba: thank you darling! YAY.. an A+. haven’t had one in years
Elle: it tastes quite mild but the flavour is very very fine!
syrie: thank you honey. its definitely not restaurant standard yakitori, but i can safely say the flavours are very good. 🙂
noobcook: thank you thank you.
Girl Japan: this was pretty damn good for lunch. cheers!
diva on January 20th,
I am not too familiar with ochazuke but this looks really good! Any type of chicken dish is good with me 🙂
Bobby on January 21st,
This photo is making my mouth water. Yum!
Dragon on January 21st,