ochazuke wakame

i have been feeling under the weather sicksicksick with a head and chest cold for the past three weeks. it's v. tiresome, and in my state of lumbering phlegmosity i find it rather funny that whilst my natural inclination is to take an axe to my chest to rip my lungs out, the only things that really seem to make me feel better (besides that lovely course of antibiotics), is plain rice and weak tea. i have also turned to the rather delicate combination of both, ochazuke, many a time in these past few weeks.

ochazuke is a light japanese dish that is a combination of hot rice with green tea or dashi (fish stock) poured over it (ocha-tea + tsuke-moisten), with a few toppings or garnishes. typically these include nori (roasted seaweed), wakame (seaweed), tiny rice pellets or crushed arare rice crackers, tsukemono, umeboshi (pickled vegetables, sour plums), dried bonito shavings, or tarako (cod roe), but aren't limited to these options in any way. also, you are not limited to what kind of tea you use--while brewed sencha or bancha (regular green tea) is the norm, hojicha (oven-roasted green tea) and genmaicha (green tea with roasted rice) are often used, and i have tried it with some black teas like oolong as well (however, matcha--the powdered green tea that is used in a lot of the desserts on this blog--isn't appropriate in this case).

i have to admit, that when i am at work (yes, i go to work sick; i work in a medical office and i have coughed on people. you call it rude, i call it repeat business. kidding. sort of. ), i tend to rely on the many packaged varieties of ochazuke available. however, it is simple enough to make it on your own with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

i have eaten some form of ochazuke for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or sometimes just as a snack. in the mornings, i tend to go quite simply with white rice, wakame and nori seaweeds, some crumbled rice crackers and brewed green tea. it is very mild, slightly salty, toasty, filling and happily provides me with enough caffeine to jump start my day.

ochazuke umeboshi

if i need a little more of a wake-up call or a pick me up at work, i will add umeboshi (sour plums), for a little bit of a kick, switch out the white rice with some brown or red rice, and pour out half tea, half dashi or konbu seaweed stock. i do rather love that i can finally put my lovely totoro bento bowl to use at lunchtime; i go the local japanese deli and pick up a few yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls), which i use in place of the steamed rice altogether--this along with one of the little ochazuke packets and some tsukemono pickles, make me a happy little bento boxer.

yaki onigiri to ochazuke

since i am on the mend, i have been adding a little bit of fish to my tsukemono for an island-style poke (a hawaiian fish salad, pronounced 'poh-keh'). a little bit of raw ahi (yellowtail) and gochujang (kimchi paste) add some needed protein and a garlic and spicy pepper kick that is better than any over-the-counter prescription medication for clearing out the sinuses.


there's more on ochazuke on maki's, chika's, hanna's, mari's, and alice's respective blogs. read up, eat up!


wee update 03 october: pokemon ochazuke !

pokemon ochazuke


yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls)

1 cup cooked short-grain white rice, cooled
soy sauce

shape 1/3 to 1/2 cup of rice in an onigiri mold, cookie cutter, an appropriate measuring cup or freehand it; pack it firmly together so it doesn't fall apart. sprinkle a little salt on both surfaces, rub lightly. grill the patties on a preheated grill or griddle (a very hot pan will work, too), until golden brown. brush lightly with soy sauce at least once during cooking.


spicy poke

1 japanese cucumber, or any thin-type cucumber, diced
1 cup diced takuan radish
1 pound fresh ahi tuna, diced
toasted sesame oil (about 2 tablespoonfuls)
toasted sesame seeds (a few tablespoonfuls would be nice)
2 stalks green onions, chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup gochujang (kimchi seasoning paste)
hawaiian rock salt, or kosher salt

salt the diced cucumbers lightly, then set aside for at least 10 minutes. place the cucumbers on a clean kitchen towel, then squeeze lightly or pat firmly to remove some of the excess moisture. combine them with the diced takuan and ahi in a bowl, drizzle with the toasted sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds and green onions, then toss. add gochujang to taste. add salt if necessary. keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


Aha, so that's what it looks like! And thank's for the grilled rice ball recipe - looks like you eat them on the side? Or do you put them in as you eat? I imagined them smaller and boppin' around in the soup. Either way, they look delicious!

Get well soon! And thanks for the rice ball recipe. Looks easy and delish!

hi cathy--you can eat them on the side, but i put them into the green tea to soften them up. if you make them yourself, you can certainly made them smaller so they can go boppin' around in the soup :) that would be fun, actually.

hi toni! thanks for the well wishes--i want to get better soon too, i'm tired of this cold already. the rice ball recipe is great. it works well with leftover rice. and you can always fill them with stuff--umeboshis, salmon, SPAM!!!

OMG, you got the bowls, too!!! Lucky you:) I am glad you are feeling a little better. Genmai-cha is my favorite tea for tea and rice.

Thanks for maintaining such an entertaining and informative blog! I came upon your blog just a couple of weeks ago (via Marketman.com). The fact that yours is a Guam-based blog makes it even better. I'm a fellow Guamanian who hasn't been home in 2 years...it's great to see that foodies are everywhere. Looking forward to reading about more food updates in the region.

Sorry, re last comment--I meant Marketmanila.com.

hafa adai, mitch! thanks for stopping by. i should have more local foods posted soon, i hope to hear from you again!

oh! acornbud, sorry i missed your comment. i do have the bowls, and a couple more bento boxes to show off in the future :)

hi santos,
slightly off the topic but welcome back. i haven't dropped by for a while but am glad to see that you are back from your holiday and back in action.

i must admit that i have never seen ochazuke in packets before! the little japanese grocery that i go to have everything from yakisoba to oyakodon packet mix. i must keep an eye out for it the next time i go so that i can keep some at work for emergency lunches. :)

it is very homely meal and definitely healthier than instant noodles!

Feel better soon, santos! Going to work sick is awful...

hi ilingc--unfortunately i've never seen one with rice included, but i have seen a few without msg which is nice.

hi shukumei--and now everyone at work is sick too! very interesting chorus of coughing going on right now.

Get well Santos! I'm stuck with a nasty cold too, and I'm definitly going to try ochazuke, as it looks delightful. Unfortunatly, I live in a quite small swedish town, where japanese food is hardly availible... What's a girl to do? I have to nag my brother into buying me loads of stuff when he goes back to Kyoto. :) Any other japanese groceries you could recommend?

gitto, one of my favourite combinations is steamed white rice, green tea, thin slices of fresh raw salmon, and some crushed rice crackers. if you can't get rice crackers, try unsweetened puffed rice cereal--piff! paff! puff!

although, i have to say, this sounds like a perfect opportunity for a food swap, don't you think...? ;)

That looks so comforting.

Can you send some this way? There's another storm coming and that soup looks real good to have while the rains rage outside our home!


oh gaaahhh, i'm headed in the same direction as that storm. crap. i'll just drop some by at your house as i swirl overhead, caught in the typhoon winds....

looks and sounds heavenly ms. santos. i like the idea of this being a breakfast item.

glad to hear you're on the mend

OMG! Where did you find the pikachus???? :D

get well soon =D

hi santos! so sorry you are not feeling well-ochazuke indeed is one of the nicest comfort foods. i wish i had known about it earlier. you missed just one ochazuke post. ;) i keed i keed. i am very glad to see you putting that totoro bowl set to use! you have to use it when you're feeling better too!

I'll send you any swedish delicacy in return for some of that lovely ochazuke! What to you want? Gravadlax, dried reindeer, cloudberries, pickled chantarelles, elk smoked with juniper wood, kalles kaviar (creamed, smoked cod roe with oil), lingonberry sauce? Absolutely anything you want! ;)

By the way, is it ok with you if I link to tsogb from my blog? I love it!

hi miss deborah! it does make for a soothing morning meal. no big sugar shock, not super carby, not super salty, either. i think i might add this to my morning meal rotation :) a very good second breakfast!

miss tiffie! my local japanese market sells these in packets. i don't know the name of the company that makes it though. you might want to check the links at ngoc's website, cooking cute for resources--someone might sell it online.

hello ana! thank you!

hallo ngoc, i promise to use it more often :)

gitto, thank you for the link! and yes! anything would be fabulous.

hi santos,
perhaps i was a bit too excited about the propspects of finding little ochazuke packs to realise that that they dont come w/ rice?? *blush*
hope you're feeling better :)

ochazuke is definitely the best thing when your sick! For me its comfort food! love your post!

hi jaime! thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. i haven't had ochazuke in awhile, but it's quite monsoon-y here lately, i think it's time to start again!