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.
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).
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
* 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
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.