How to Make Ochazuke Rice Soup with Seaweed Tea
The other day, my family got a package of seaweed tea leaves from our relative.
Mekabu Seaweed Tea
I think the seaweed tea most familiar to us Japanese is “Kombu-Cha (こんぶ茶)” made from kelp powder, but what my family received this time was the Mekabu seaweed shown above meant for “Mekabu-Cha (めかぶ茶: Mekabu Tea)”.
Actually, this was the first time I tried Mekabu seaweed tea. Just with these dark green pieces of dried Mekabu seaweed, you can easily make tasty tea like a dashi-rich soup.
From the photo, you may wonder what the white stuff on the surface is. Although the seaweed, Mekabu itself has lots of umami, together with plenty of minerals and dietary fibers, the flavor of Mekabu-Cha mostly comes from the white particles.
Specifically, according to the ingredient list, the base of this Mekabu-Cha consists of Mekabu seaweed (wakame), roasted salt, Ume plum flesh, salt, Shiso (perilla) liquid, Ume vinegar, milk sugar, fermented seasoning, and amino acids.
How to make the seaweed tea Mekabu-Cha from these green bits is simple as follows; First, put a few pieces in a small teacup and pour boiling water.
After letting the seaweed sit for about 1 minute, you can enjoy the Mekabu tea. Packed with umami and accompanied by a hint of Ume plum flavor, the seaweed tea is very tasty.
Of course, you can also eat the green seaweed, which is tender, a little slimy with a pleasant crunchiness.
How to Make Ochazuke with Seaweed Tea
For the unfamiliar with Japanese food, “Ochazuke (お茶漬け)” is a common rice bowl dish in Japan consisting of steamed plain rice entirely soaked in hot green tea or soup.
Japanese usually enjoy the rice soup with salty or savory toppings like Umeboshi plums or grilled salmon flakes.
Actually, we sometimes make the Ochazuke rice soup with a seaweed tea base, like the above Mekabu seaweed or the kelp powder for Kombu-Cha.
This is because, as mentioned above, Japanese seaweed tea tastes like an umami-rich dashi soup. What is better, the Ochazuke making is also simple like this; First, place some base seaweed on a bowl of rice and pour boiling water.
If desired, add some toppings to your preference, and you can enjoy the Ochazuke rice soup. By the way, this time I added a piece of Umeboshi plum as the Mekabu tea has a subtle Ume flavor.
Many kinds of Japanese seaweed tea are similar in taste, so even if you couldn’t obtain the seasoned Mekabu seaweed for Mekabu-Cha, you can make a similar Ochazuke rice bowl using the kelp powder for Kombu-Cha.