Ochazuke Bento, simple but delicious!
Hilary of the JapanCAN(ada)Mix blog reminded me the other day about this very simple, but brilliant dish. And when, on that same day, Nami of Just One Cookbook, posted a recipe for Ochazuke on her blog, I just knew I had to turn it into a Bento!
Ochazuke literally means submerged tea, and it’s a simple Japanese dish made by pouring green tea over cooked rice with various toppings. You can buy ready made packets of toppings at Japanese grocery stores, they come in different flavours and you just need to add hot water instead of tea, but it is very easy to make your own.
The first time that I ate this dish, was when my sorority was given a Japanese cookbook by a visiting sorority and we cooked a dinner for them using some of the recipes. I can still remember the stunned faces when I produced a tea pot and started to pour tea over the cooked rice. As I was completely new to the dish myself, I wasn’t at all sure how much tea was needed, or how it was going to taste, but it was surprisingly good.
I am very happy that Hilary and Nami reminded me of this dish, and whilst I have never made it into a Bento before (I usually eat this as an easy quick meal late at night or when I am too lazy to properly cook something), it is actually very suitable for a packed lunch.
Here is my Ochazuke Bento when packed:
As you can see, I used my Black + Blum Bento lunchpot. It’s very practical for this kind of lunch because you can use it in the microwave. The larger compartment holds cooked rice. On top of the rice, I placed a small container with some cooked salted salmon and spring onion. The smaller compartment has all the dry ingredients: some nori cut in small strips – I used the Korean flavoured version as this adds some extra flavour to the dish. There are also some sesame seeds, and a pinch of wasabi powder. I kept the rice cracker packed, but next time I think I will pre-crumble it as I had crumbs all over my desk…. There is also a little bottle of soy sauce and of course green tea! No Ochazuke without tea!!
I packed it up in the morning. When I was ready to eat it, I just took out the salmon container, heated up the rice in the microwave, and put all the toppings on top of the rice. Finally I made the green tea and poured it over the rice :-)