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Green tea rice soup

China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-25 08:07

Green tea rice soup

[Photo provided to China Daily]

The Japanese name for this dish, ochazuke, means "tea and pickles"-referring to the key ingredients: Japanese green tea (not macha, though) and pickles. Beyond that, anything goes. The pickles are a free for all-radishes, cucumbers, carrots ... take your pick! Salmon is a popular traditional topping. For this vegan version, add any cooked (grilled, steamed, roasted) vegetables like carrots, green beans or squash. The typical Japanese garnishes-trefoil and shiso-are a little tough to find, so I use mint or watercress.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

4 cups (600 g) warm cooked white or brown Japanese sushi rice (leftover rice works just fine)

8 teaspoons loose-leaf Japanese green tea like genmaicha, sencha, or hojicha

4 cups (1 liter) filtered or spring water

1 green onion (scallion), green and white parts, chopped

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Wasabi paste, to taste (optional)

Soy sauce, to taste (optional)

Tips

If you want to make it more of a meal, you can add scrambled eggs seasoned with a splash of soy sauce and mirin.

・ This dish can be made with seaweed stock instead of tea.

・ For a cool summertime treat, serve Green Tea Rice Soup with cold rice and cold tea.

Rice toppings

½ cup (30 g) crushed savory Japanese rice crackers

½ cup (5 g) shredded or crumbled nori or kale chips

½ cup (50 g) soy sauce and vinegar pickled padishes or cucumber pickles

½ cup (15 g) baby arugula (rocket) or mizuna leaves

1 cup (150 g) cooked, sliced carrots or other vegetables

Handful of mint or watercress leaves, torn or chopped

Divide the cooked rice among 4 large bowls. Have diners create their own flavors by adding toppings and seasonings to their liking.

Brew the tea by placing the tea leaves in a strainer in a large teapot. Heat the water in a kettle until it comes just short of boiling, about 185 F (85 C) for genmaicha. Steep the tea for 1 to 2 minutes. The exact amount of time will depend on the particular tea and personal preference. You may have to make several batches of tea depending on the size of your teapot. The ratio of tea leaves to hot water should be 2 teaspoons tea to 1 cup (250 ml) water.

Pour enough hot tea into each bowl to reach halfway up the rice. Allow the rice and tea to sit for about a minute to allow the flavors to meld.

Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Stir in a small dollop (about ⅛ teaspoon) of wasabi and/or a splash (about ¼ teaspoon) of soy sauce, if desired. Eat immediately.

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