Ochazuke is a Japanese home-style dish that is made by pouring hot green tea over leftover steamed rice with salty toppings for flavor. This is definitely the best thing to happen to leftover rice! You get a whole new dish that is warm and savory, perfect for winter.
I grew up eating gomashio, a simple Japanese condiment of toasted sesame seeds (goma) and sea salt (shio). My Aunt, who trained at a monastery in Japan, learned how to make gomashio and sent us a big batch every year for the holidays. Gomashio became my family’s favorite condiment to sprinkle on steamed veggies, salads, and just about everything!
My favorite pickles to serve alongside ochazuke are pickled plum (ume) pickled hijiki seaweed, and nukazuke (simple rice bran pickled vegetables), pictured here. The daikon radish, cucumber, and carrot nukazuke pickles I get from my local Japanese grocer. However, any toppings will work, I’ve also enjoyed fresh sprouts or even spicy kimchi.
If you’re making fresh steamed rice and you have extra, let it cool and then keep it in an airtight container on your counter…not the fridge! Refrigeration makes leftover rice hard, plain steamed rice won’t spoil on the counter, then you can make ochazuke the next day.
- 1.5 cups steamed rice (leftovers are great)
- 8 ounces hot green tea
- gomashio (recipe below)
- assorted pickles (optional)
- Brew your green tea in a small teapot or mug.
- Add your steamed rice to a bowl with plenty of room for tea.
- Garnish your rice with gomashio and desired toppings.
- Gently pour the green tea over your toppings to infuse the rice with flavor. Enjoy!
More topping ideas for ochazuke: fresh greens or herbs, diced tomato, chopped green onion, kimchi, roasted chestnut, sauerkraut, toasted nori strips, etc.
- 2 teaspoons ground sesame seeds
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Add the ground sesame to a skillet on medium-low heat, stir continuously to prevent burning.
- When the seeds start to smell "nutty" after about a minute, remove from the heat and let cool.
- Add the sesame & sea salt to a bowl, crush lightly with a pestle or back of a spoon, the mixture should resemble a coarse powder.
- Serve right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge.
What is your favorite topping for ochazuke? Is there something special you make with leftover rice?