Craving a dish that is light yet comforting? This easy, homemade Ochazuke with green tea or dashi, steamed rice, and simple savory toppings will hit the spot.
Ochazuke (お茶漬け) is a simple one-bowl dish featuring steamed rice with an assortment of savory ingredients, partially steeped in green tea. Ocha refers to green tea, and zuke means “submerged”. Instead of proper mealtime food, the Japanese enjoy it more as a quick meal or at the end of the meal to fill up.
Ochazuke – The Comfort Food
Soothing to eat and easy on the stomach, Ochazuke is the kind of comfort food that I crave. When I suffer from jet lag after a long plane ride from Japan, I would always make the rice dish to satisfy my midnight hunger pangs. The warm tea and rice were well received by my exhausted body and tasting it immediately comforted my homesickness.
We often eat Ochazuke when we feel under the weather or simply when there are no other ingredients to cook with. It’s the easiest meal to put together! All the ingredients are the usual staples from a Japanese pantry.
In Japanese manga and drama, you’ll find scenes of Japanese student scarfing down a bowl of Ochazuke while burning the midnight oil, or a tired salaryman gets home from work and need something quick to eat before hitting the snooze button.
Ochazuke is a perfect quick meal to ease your hunger, as it’s light and can be quickly prepared. It also has the magic to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside after eating.
Types of Green Tea & Broth You Can Use for Ochazuke
You can use various kinds of green tea such as Genmaicha, Sencha, Hojicha, etc to make Ochazuke. However, when you order Ochazuke in Japanese restaurants, it is typically made with dashi broth instead of green tea.
The Ochazuke served with green tea tends to be bland and relies on salty toppings to add more flavor. But with good dashi, the dish can be very flavorful even with just a few simple toppings.
You can also make it with cold tea or broth in the summertime.
Suggestions for Toppings
I know some of the ingredients are quite hard to get outside of Japan, so feel free to change it up. You can keep it simple by using leftover rice and whatever you have from the fridge!
Here are the ingredients commonly used to make Ochazuke:
- Bubu Arare (tiny rice cracker balls; Amazon sells it)
- Japanese pickles like umeboshi (salted pickled plum)
- Nori seaweed
- Pollock roe (tarako & mentaiko)
- Salmon Flakes (recipe coming soon!)
- Salmon roe (ikura)
- Salted Salmon
- Scallion or mitsuba
- Sea Bream (tai) sashimi
- Sesame seeds
There are instant ochazuke packets you can buy from Japanese/Asian grocery stores or Amazon. They include dried pickled plum, salmon, nori, rice crackers, and green tea, and all you need to do is pour hot water or tea over. It’s convenient, but you can’t beat the taste and flavor of homemade Ochazuke.
I often make the recipe when I have leftover salted salmon. It is especially comforting and delicious with homemade dashi broth! I wouldn’t even mind eating it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Ochazuke (Green Tea Over Rice)
- 1 fillet Homemade Japanese Salted Salmon (or ½ fillet regular salmon and a pinch of salt; you can also use any leftover cooked salmon)
- 1 cup cooked Japanese short-grain rice
- 1 tsp bubu arare (crispy puffed rice pellets) (or crushed Japanese rice crackers)
- 1 tsp shredded nori seaweed (kizami nori)
- ¼ tsp toasted white sesame seeds
- 2 sprigs mitsuba (Japanese parsley) (or ⅛ scallion, cut into small pieces)
- wasabi (optional, to taste)
For Ochazuke with Dashi
For Ochazuke with Green Tea
- 2 tsp Japanese green tea leaves (I used genmaicha, but sencha, hojicha, and mugicha also work; use 3 g (1 tsp) tea leaves per 100 ml (about ½ cup) hot water)
- 1 cup hot water (see the tea leaves package for the appropriate water temperature to use)
- ½ tsp soy sauce (optional)
- Gather all the ingredients. The ingredients are pictured for Ochazuke with Dashi on the left and Ochazuke with Green Tea on the right.
To Prepare the Ingredients
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC). For a convection oven, reduce the cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Bake 1 fillet Homemade Japanese Salted Salmon for 20–25 minutes until the skin and flesh are blistered and charred (Japanese salted salmon is always cooked until firm and well done). Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and break up the salmon flesh into flakes. Set aside. Tip: If you’re using regular salmon, season it with a pinch of salt and set it aside for 10 minutes before baking. You can also substitute any leftover teriyaki, grilled, or pan-fried salmon for a slightly different flavor.
- If you don’t have 1 tsp bubu arare (crispy puffed rice pellets), crush Japanese rice crackers into small pieces (you can also use a bag to crush it).
To Prepare the Dashi or Tea
- Ochazuke with Dashi: Combine 1 cup dashi (Japanese soup stock), 1 tsp mirin, 1 tsp soy sauce, and ⅛ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Pour the soup into a small teapot and keep warm.
- Ochazuke with Tea: Put 2 tsp Japanese green tea leaves in a pot or teapot. Bring 1 cup hot water to the appropriate temperature for your tea and pour it into the pot. Set aside for 1–2 minutes (follow the directions on your tea package).
- For each serving, portion 1 cup cooked Japanese short-grain rice in an individual bowl. Add the flaked salmon on the rice and sprinkle 1 tsp bubu arare or crushed rice crackers, 1 tsp shredded nori seaweed, and ¼ tsp toasted white sesame seeds on top. Serve tsukemono (pickles), such as Pickled Cucumber, on the side as a part of the meal.
- Ochazuke with Dashi: When you‘re ready to eat, pour the hot dashi into the bowl to cover the rice halfway and top with 2 sprigs mitsuba and wasabi. Enjoy!
- Ochazuke with Tea: When you‘re ready to eat, pour the hot tea into the bowl to cover the rice halfway and top with 2 sprigs mitsuba and wasabi. Add ½ tsp soy sauce, if you‘d like. Enjoy!
For Ochazuke in the Summertime
- You can use cold rice and cold dashi or tea (I love mugicha or barley tea) in the summertime to enjoy a cool and refreshing version of Ochazuke.
Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on July 23, 2014. It’s been edited and republished in April 2020.