Have you ever found yourself with leftover Japanese rice? Sure, you can make a stir fry or a pilaf, but why slum it with such mediocre food? Ochazuke is definitely the solution to your cold winter food needs!
- Rice, of course.
For this, standard Japanese sticky rice is the norm. You don’t even have to use freshly cooked rice, the microwavable instant kind, or rice that you have already cooked and then refrigerated, or even frozen rice will do. Heat the rice up depending on the type, and put it in a bowl.
- Ochazuke Mixutre.
You can buy the dry mixture at any grocery store, discount shop, or even a convenience store. Look for the Japanese as follows : “お茶づけ” and pick a pack. Read on to find more about the flavours.
Sprinkle the powder on top of the rice in the bowl, spreading it evenly over the rice. The ingredients are dried, and expand when covered with water.
- Boiling Water.
You can boil the water on the stove, or pour it directly out of a water boiler, which are common in Japan.
Simple! Pour the hot water over the rice and powder, mix it together with a spoon, and eat with said spoon. See? Simple as can be. Delicious as anything. Warm in your belly.
There are many standard flavours to be enjoyed, with some companies offering unique or one off options. Below are 3 of the standard flavours found at most places. You can buy flavour specific packs, or a mixed flavour pack to liven things up!
Dried salmon with seaweed is heaven on a cold day. It is by far my favourite flavour. I eat this at least once a week, and never get sick of it.
A little tart, a little salty, and the perfect cure for a hangover. Maybe that is just me. Ume flavour is ubiquitous in Japan, but as far as I am concerned this is one of the better ways to enjoy the flavour. No squishy pickled plumbs to deal with, and no worries about biting the pit.
This is a more Japanese oriented flavour, that is for sure. This is the same seaweed you find in rice balls, on soba, and other dishes. The taste is subtle, but very traditional and delicious.
My favourite brand above and beyond is Nagatanien (永谷園). It is a big player in Japan, but feel free to experiment with a few different options.
Overall, the packets are convenient to keep in your work desk, bag, or a locker. As well, this makes a great light souvenir to bring back or send to your friends abroad. The beauty of ochazuke is that it is instant food that doesn’t taste like instant food. Simply put, far more healthy than a hamburger!
Try some if you have a chance, and you may fall more in love with rice, if that is possible.
3 Delicious Instant Dishes to Warm Your Soul this Winter