Taking its name from the words “green tea” (“ocha”) and “submerged” (“zuke”), ochazuke is a one-bowl Japanese dish that combines steamed rice with a variety of savory ingredients and is partially steeped in green tea.
This simple dish is usually consumed as a quick meal, most often when the refrigerator is bare or one is feeling under the weather. All the ingredients used to make it are the usual staples found in just about every Japanese pantry.
You can use any type of green tea to make this delicious dish, including genmaicha, sencha or hojicha. You might even consider using cold-brewed tea for a refreshing twist on the hotter days of summer!
How to make ochazuke
Makes 4 servings
- 2 cups cooked, warm sushi rice, divided
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup white soy sauce (or 3 tablespoons regular soy sauce), plus more for brushing
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil
- 10 ounces (about 1 bunch) mature spinach, trimmed
- ½ cup brewed green tea, either hot or cold-brewed (such as hojicha, sencha or genmaicha)
- 6 scallions (dark green parts only), thinly sliced crosswise
- 4 large eggs
- Pickled ginger, furikake seasoning or toasted sesame seeds, and shredded toasted nori (for serving)
- Optional: 1 dried shiitake mushroom
- Scoop ½ cup rice onto a clean surface. Moisten your hands in a small bowl of salted water. (This will keep the rice from sticking to your fingers, as well as season the rice a bit.) Firmly compress the rice into a compact ball, then press it down onto the surface to gently flatten it to a 3-inch round. Repeat with remaining rice to form 4 individual rice cakes in total.
- Heat neutral oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush one side of rice cakes with soy sauce. Cook, soy sauce side down, until edges are golden brown and crisp, around 5 to 6 minutes. Brush tops of rice cakes with soy sauce. Turn and cook remaining side until golden brown and crisp, another 5 or 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Pour water into a large saucepan to a depth of 2 inches. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat until water reaches a gentle simmer. Crack an egg into a small bowl, then gently slide egg into simmering water. Repeat with remaining eggs, waiting until whites of eggs in water are opaque (about 30 seconds) before adding each subsequent egg. Poach eggs, shaping with a slotted spoon if needed, until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels when they’re finished.
- Add spinach to saucepan and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain; let cool slightly, then squeeze out excess water with your hands.
- Heat 3 cups of water in a small saucepan over high heat until right when water starts to steam. Add green tea of choice and let steep 2 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Discard solids. Stir in remaining ¼ cup soy sauce.
- Divide rice cakes, spinach and eggs among bowls. Pour tea mixture over. Top with scallions, pickled ginger, furikake and nori.
- Optional: Finely grate mushroom over with a microplane just prior to serving. Enjoy!