OChazuke (rice soup)

I am going to share a lazy, yet delicious secret with you. In Japan, when you go for a large slap up traditional meal, you tend to have the rice at the end. They offer it to you in various forms, but most frequently as a soup or onigiri.

I personally love onigiri, at the end of the meal, particularly grilled one (yaki onigiri) as the crunch on the crispy rice takes me in a journey of my own to my childhood years. However, the rice soup is my favourite option for a late breakfast/ brunch, for that it keeps me going whilst I get on with my daily tasks.

I need to explain that in those occasions I was referring to, at traditional Japanese restaurants, the rice soup can be served with their soup stock or with green tea pour over, and I would emphasise that the latter is worth trying as the flavour will catch you by surprise.

Now, going back to the topic of the post, I must confess that we often cook for two days as we are generally busy and rather repeat than buying pre-cooked options. Therefore, it is often that we may end up with salmon teriyaki and rice, to feed us for a while. If you don’t you may consider this recipe when you cook it next!

The brunch rice soup is very simple to prepare.

Cooking time: As long as your kettle takes to boil water
Quantity: Two portions

Tips:

1. To accompany Japanese food it is better to use the short grained rice. We tend to buy a particular brand (Nishiki) but you probably can find others where you are.

2. You will need a basic size bowl (larger than a rice bowl, smaller than a noodle soup one) per person. Ours are roughly 15cm diameter and height wise 5cm. Of course it depends on how hungry you wake up in the morning but don’t get too carried away as it is more filling than it looks! Don’t say you were not warned.

3. I always stock up on soup sachets that contain crispy crackers made of furaido rice (fried rice), soup stock in grains and nori* cut in very thin stripes.
*The seaweed used in sushi making

ricesoupsachet
Ingredients:

1 piece of left over salmon teriyaki (2 x 5 cm) per person flaked
A soup sachet per person
You will also need enough left over rice to fill up the bowl.
Boiled water and/or green tea

Cooking Instructions:

Firstly you will need to get your ingredients together whilst the water boils.

Flake the salmon.

Fill up the bowl with rice.

When the water has boiled, if you are using tea to make this soup, leave the water to cool down for a minute or so before making the tea. One should never use boiled water on tea.

I once read that 80 degree Celsius is the perfect temperature, and given that water boils (under “normal” circumstances) at 100 degree Celsius…

So, whether you are indeed making it with tea or water, the first thing you will need is to loosen up your left over rice grains. I do this by adding a bit of how water on the bowl of rice and using a fork to carefully separate the grains.

If you are making tea, probably, this is the time when you can prepare the tea.

Once the grains are loose, remove the excess water.

Place the content of the sachet over the rice and top up with the salmon.

Finally, pour either the water or the tea over it and enjoy!

I am going to take this opportunity to thank the unbelievable Scottish salmon catchers as Scottish salmon flavour is second to none and brightens us anyone’s morning. Utterly delicious, though inexplicably, it is the Norwegian one that is served all over Europe.

Photographs by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Recipe by Toru Saeki and Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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