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 we received this time was the Mekabu seaweed above meant for “Mekabu-Cha (めかぶ茶: Mekabu Tea)”.
Honestly, this was the first time I tried Mekabu seaweed tea.
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.
The seaweed itself has lots of umami and is packed with plenty of minerals and dietary fibers, but 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 Mekabu tea from these green chunks is simple as follows.
First, put a few pieces in a teacup and pour boiling water. After letting them steep for about 1 minute, you can enjoy the seaweed tea.
Packed with umami and accompanied by a hint of Ume flavor, the Mekabu tea tastes pretty good.
You can also eat the green seaweed if you like. It is tender and a little slimy with a pleasant crunchiness.
How to Make Ochazuke with Seaweed Tea
For the unfamiliar, “Ochazuke (お茶漬け)” is a Japanese rice bowl dish consisting of a bowl of steamed plain rice entirely soaked in hot green tea or soup.
Japanese people usually enjoy Ochazuke rice soup with salty or savory toppings like Umeboshi plums or grilled salmon flakes.
We sometimes make the dish with a seaweed tea base, like the above Mekabu seaweed chunks or the kelp powder for Kombu-Cha,
because Japanese seaweed tea generally tastes like an umami-rich dashi soup.
What is better, the Ochazuke preparation is simple like this. First, place some base seaweed on rice and pour boiling water.
If desired, add some toppings to your preference (I added a piece of Umeboshi this time), and now you can enjoy the Ochazuke rice soup!
Many kinds of Japanese seaweed tea have a similar taste.
So even if you can’t obtain seasoned Mekabu seaweed for Mekabu-Cha, you can make a similar Ochazuke rice bowl using kelp powder for Kombu-Cha.