November’s Daring Cook’s challenge is a delight: a savory dish made with tea. The suggestions were intriguing– green tea noodle soup, rooibos marinated beef stew– but my heart flew across an ocean to some serious comfort food. Ochazuke, basically a dish of rice with toppings and tea poured over it, is classically eaten at the end of a Japanese meal or as breakfast or a snack. Commercial packets mean that you typically open up a packet and pour tea over your (sometimes leftover) rice. It’s very comforting, warming, and weirdly reminiscent of chicken noodle soup. Avoiding the packets just involves making a little broth and a few toppings to go with your rice and tea.

Ochazuke a la Boston

Handful of carrot peels
2-3 slices garlic
2 T jasmine pearl tea
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Pinch sugar (or mirin)
1 egg
Slivers of carrot and/or onion
1 sheet nori
1 t toasted sesame seeds
2/3 c cooked brown rice (leftover?)
Optional: pickled ginger or umeboshi, chopped scallions, hijiki, etc

Simmer the carrot peels and garlic in 2/3 c water for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and add the jasmine pearl tea. Strain after about 4 minutes. Add a few drops of soy sauce and vinegar along with sugar or mirin. Set the broth aside.

Poach the egg (or chicken, or fish, or tofu if you prefer), cooking the carrot slivers in the pan too. While the egg poaches, toast the nori by heating it over a burner or holding it in a hot oven for about 30 seconds. Crumble the nori. Place the rice in a bowl and heat it briefly. Place the egg on top, and pour the hot broth over it. Top with the carrot, sesame seeds, and nori. Garnish with pickled ginger or plums, if desired.

Linked to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

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