Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Big on Japan

I got this wonderful, beautiful book on Japanese cooking for my B-day, I still haven't managed to read it cover-to-cover as it deserves, but I've already christened it by making one of the recipes.

I was looking for something quick and simple, yet different and stumbled upon Ocha-zuke or Rice in Green Tea with Salmon. Green tea? That's right, green tea. Apparently it's a favorite type of fast food in Kyoto region. Basically something to have late at night after drinks (leave it to the Japanese to have something all macrobiotic and healthy for munchies food, while the rest of us stumble into sticky burger joints for some greasy post-cocktails fries). The book also said, that offering ocha-zuke to your guests is basically a polite way to tell them, that the party is over and apparently after such an offer is made, everyone is to promptly refuse, get their stuff together and leave.

It would obviously be a super-simple thing to put together, if you had boiled rice and grilled salmon on the standby, perhaps even some recently brewed green tea, but it's still something that can be managed with one hand tied behind your back, even if you start from scratch.

Ocha-zuke - Rice in Green Tea with Salmon (riis rohelise tee ja l├Áhega):
serves 4-6

150 g salmon fillet
1/2-1 nori sheet (the original recipe said 1/4, but I used more and liked it)
250 g short-grain rice
1 tbsp green tea leaves (sencha)
1 tsp wasabi paste
4 tsp shoyu (soy sauce)

Salt the salmon and set it aside on a baking-parchment lined oven tin for about 30 minutes.
If you don't have cooked rice, cook it using 350 ml water (bring to a fast boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until all the water is absorbed).
Preheat your oven to 180 C
Wipe the salt off with a kitchen towel and put in the oven using the grill function for about 5 minutes, until it's cooked through.
Cut the nori into thin strips
Remove the skin and bones and flake with a fork.
Put some rice in the bowls (if your rice is cold, you can heat it by pouring hot water on it through a sieve).
Put salmon pieces on top.
Sprinkle with the nori-strips.
Boil some water, pour out 600 ml and let it cool slightly, then cover the green-tea leaves with it and leave to infuse for 45 seconds (yes, I actually timed it). Strain the tea.
Add some wasabi on top of everything in the bowl and gently pour the tea on, season with soy sauce. In order for the wasabi to evenly mix with the "broth" you probably need to stir it gently with a fork.

It was lovely. And definitely should be added to the list of perfect hangover foods, should you have such a list. The Japanese, as always, seem to know what they're doing.

1 comment:

Sophie said...

That fish dish is a special one.

I need to try this,..I can't wait!

MMMMMMMMMMMM,..a lovely & special easy to make meal!