Ochazuke. I come back to this dish again and again because I love it. And in light of the recent tragic events in Japan, eating it reminds me of all of the happy times I spent there.

Ochazuke is a simple combination of rice and green tea. It’s a brilliant creation- a terrific savory breakfast or snack and a legendary hangover cure- I was first introduced to it when I lived with a family in Japan more than twenty years ago.

Ochazuke is easy to make with leftover rice (white sushi rice is typically used in Japan), and it can be topped with just about anything. Fish, nori seaweed strips, and salty garnishes like pickles are pretty traditional.

ocahzuke with crispy salmon skin

This version, featuring anti-oxidant rich black rice (also known as Forbidden Rice, an organic heirloom variety sold by Lotus Foods), was inspired by a recipe in Jaden’s fabulous The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. I had a big piece of salmon skin leftover from making homemade smoked salmon (my post on that deliciousness is coming soon, I promise), so I crisped it up in the toaster and found that Jaden was absolutely right: it is the perfect topping for this dish.

As I mentioned above, nori seaweed strips are a typical garnish for ochazuke, but I loaded mine up with wakame seaweed instead. Wakame is very low in calories and high in minerals; it’s also a natural source of iodine which makes it excellent for the thyroid gland, and an important protector against radiation (which, unfortunately, is a serious concern for many people in Japan right now).

ochazuke with crispy salmon skin

You could, of course, make this recipe with cooked salmon flesh, but there is so much flavor in the crisped up fatty skin that sometimes gets discarded (not to mention it’s a great source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids).

Make sure to purchase wild (not farmed) salmon.

Recipe for Black Rice Ochazuke with Crispy Salmon Skin

Serves 2

Ingredients:

* 2 cups hot green tea (any green tea is fine, but I usually use sencha)
* 1/2 cup dried wakame seaweed
* skin from a 1 pound fillet of wild salmon (my salmon skin had been on the salmon which I cured and smoked, but an uncooked piece of skin is fine), broiled on a piece of foil in the toaster for 5-6 minutes until crispy (watch that it does not burn)
* 1 - 1.5 cups cooked black rice (or use cooked short-grain brown rice or whatever type of leftover rice you have on hand)
* 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a hot skillet for a minute or two

* wheat-free tamari and/or wasabi to taste- optional

Directions:

1. In a small pan on the stove, rehydrate the seaweed in the hot green tea. Allow to steep while you crisp the salmon skin.

2. Place salmon skin on a piece of foil in the toaster oven. Broil for 5-6 minutes, until crispy (you could do this in the oven instead, but you'll conserve some energy if you use the toaster). Allow to cool slightly, then cut into strips or squares.

3. Divide rice and place into two bowls. Warm the tea/wakame combination if it's cooled down too much, then pour over the rice. Place the salmon skin pieces on top and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds. Douse with a little tamari and add a bit of wasabi, if you like.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

 

35 Comments

  1. 1

    Jackie — April 4, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    That is an absolutely stunning plate of food… and I love that it’s a “legendary hangover cure”, I somehow never thought those words would come from you, my dear ;) Beautiful incredible photography. I am very envious of your skills!

    Definitely hungry for some Japanese food now!

    Jax x

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

      Thanks so much Jackie :)

  2. 2

    Cookin' Canuck — April 4, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

    I could truly eat bowl after bowl of this. The crispy salmon skin is a brilliant addition.

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

      Thanks Dara!

  3. 3

    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — April 4, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    omg this looks SO good! Loving your site!

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

      Thank you, my friend!

  4. 4

    Lynn — April 4, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

    This looks fabulous. Seaweed, salmon and rice- I’m so there!
    Thanks!

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

      Yes, it’s such a healthy and delicious combo!

  5. 5

    Robin — April 4, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

    Hi Winnie – Thanks for posting this. Please post more Japanese dishes. Do you make Ramen soup? I would love a recipe for that (gluten free which I suspect is easy to do). I am really drawn to do more Japanese cooking…and you must treasure the time you spent there…

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

      Gluten free ramen soup sounds like a plan. I’ll get cracking on that recipe…

  6. 6

    Maria — April 4, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    What a delicious meal!

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

      Thanks Maria!

  7. 7

    Shelby — April 4, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

    This looks delicious. I would love to try the recipe but I know Grumpy wouldn’t try it because he is very anti Salmon. He thinks he doesn’t like it. I keep telling him he hasn’t had it made right if that’s the case!

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

      He doesn’t even like it grilled? Keep trying, I say…

  8. 8

    Nutmeg Nanny — April 4, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    This is such a beautiful looking dish!

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

      Thanks Brandy…it’s super easy to make, too.

  9. 9

    SMITH BITES — April 5, 2011 @ 5:26 am

    absolutely LOVE the colors of this dish Winnie – definitely marking this one!!

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

      Thanks Debra!

  10. 10

    Celia — April 5, 2011 @ 7:35 am

    This looks soooo good. I always love new seaweed recipes; I’ve loved it since before I found it was healthy – actually got made fun of in first grade for bringing dried seaweed in my lunch. Many thanks for sharing!

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

      My daughter (age 9) absolutely loves nori. We snack on it all the time :)

  11. 11

    Jaden — April 5, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    Thank you Winnie!!!! xoxo jaden

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

      No…thank you! Glad you came by xoxo

  12. 12

    Liz the Chef — April 5, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    Beautiful, Winnie, a dish totally new to me, something that I so admire about the originality of your cooking…I think I just bought the same mat at BB&B for a photo shoot!!

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

      Thanks Liz, and I love the mat!

  13. 13

    Island Vittles — April 5, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

    this looks addictive (in a good way). And what a great way to use up salmon skin. I love eating the whole animal! Theresa

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

      I do, too. There’s no reason to waste something so delicious!

  14. 14

    Kelsey, at Happyolks — April 5, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

    this looks absolutely mind blowingly good. wow. i just picked up a package of wakame, looks like i’ll have to go back to the store for some salmon!

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

      Yes, back to the store for you! ps it’s also good with a fried egg instead of the salmon…

  15. 15

    Stephanie — April 5, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

    Ooh this sounds wonderful and your pictures are gorgeous! I can’t wait to try this, thanks for sharing.

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

      Thanks Stephanie!

  16. 16

    Brigitte — April 5, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

    This looks delicious. And it’s great to learn there’s a way to use the skin from salmon. (yay, less wasting). However, being fairly new to cooking on my own and doing the grocery, I’d like to ask you; why does it have to be wild salmon? I understand the appeal, but is it absolutely necessary? If I can’t find any wild salmon (or be sure that it is) where I live, can I just get any salmon and make do with it, or should I just switch it up with cooked salmon flesh if that’s the case?

    Thanks in advance. Now, I’m going to wander around your blog to see what other great recipes you have here. ^^

    Brigitte

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

      Hi Brigitte,
      I specify wild salmon because farmed salmon may contain unhealthy levels of toxins such as PCBs and dioxins. It is also artificially colored and does not have the same content of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids as wild salmon. So I don’t recommend salmon unless it’s wild…
      I don’t live in a city and I can find wild salmon no problem…I I hope you can, too :)

  17. 17

    Brigitte — April 5, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

    Thanks for your advice! I’ll see if I can find any wild salmon around here.

    • Winnie replied: — April 5th, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

      Good luck. If you can’t find it, you could make this with another fish (broiled or grilled), preferable one that’s sustainably harvested and low in mercury.
      It’s also great with a fried egg on top instead of the fish.

  18. 18

    Jaya Dixit — April 8, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

    Winnie, I was first introduced to ochazuke when you featured it on your blog a while back and ever since then I have been blown away by the thought of consuming my food and caffeine in a single dish! This is such a gorgeous variation and though I love it adorned with an egg and soaked/chopped almonds, the texture of the salmon skin sounds delightful! And I agree with the others: your photography is tremendous!

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