A Taste of Culture – OCHA-ZUKÉ お茶漬け

Food Elizabeth Andoh

Japanese green tea connoisseurs keenly await the arrival of shin cha (new tea) at market early in May. Although most enthusiasts infuse the tender new leaves with very warm (never boiling hot!) water to make a beverage to savor on its own, my first purchase of shin cha each year is set aside for ocha-zuké, rice-in-a-bowl moistened with green tea broth. Ocha-zuké is Japanese comfort food at its most basic – a reliable stand-by that can be quickly assembled as hunger, or the mood, dictates. A delicious way to enjoy leftover rice, ocha-zuké is a favorite, late night snack of college students pulling all-nighters, salaried workers after a night of barhopping, and housewives after a disappointing restaurant lunch with friends. There are hundreds of variations on the ocha-zuké theme. Head over to my KITCHEN CULTURE blog for a master recipe to get you started. The blog post includes recipes for making deeply flavored kelp-infused tea broth, seasoned salmon flakes, and a topping made from re-purposed tea leaves. The master recipe includes information on another popular topping: bubu araré (crunchy little rice puffs) that can be bought at Asian groceries. Follow me on FACEBOOK & Twitter.

Gifting Appreciation at Table: KANSHA

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Elizabeth Andoh A Taste of Culture Culinary Arts Program Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0095, Japan


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