Not all soups require long-simmering stocks and dozen-ingredient broths. Ochazuke, a homey Japanese rice soup that punches well above its weight class, avoids complicated steps and annoying last-minute shopping trips with a mere sachet of green tea and scoopful of cooked grains, seasoned with only a few drops of soy sauce. Neither the tea nor the rice could really count as a meal on their own, but teamed up, they become a warming, nourishing soup that holds its own—fit for a savory breakfast or a nourishing lunch.
The spirit of ochazuke is a no-recipe recipe that utilizes leftovers—namely rice and salmon here—so it’s not necessary to have every single topping, as long as there’s a good mix of flavors, colors, textures, and herbs.
- To soft-boil the egg, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add egg and boil 7 minutes. Remove egg with a slotted spoon and set aside to allow to cool before peeling.
- To prepare the dashi (if using), bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a separate pot. Once boiling, add the dashi powder or packet. If using powder, it will dissolve immediately. Stir, remove from heat, and set aside. If using packet, allow it to steep in the water for 5 minutes over medium heat. Stir, then remove from heat and set aside.
- To prepare ochazuke, add rice into a small or medium-size soup bowl. Pour the dashi or green tea to cover 3/4 of the rice. Add the flaked salmon and soft-boiled egg, then the remaining toppings.
- Serve immediately. Serve with additional soy sauce added to broth if desired.
Tatiana Bautista is an assistant editor at TASTE.