Japanese Cookbook 101 - part 2. Ochatsuke


Welcome again to my kitchen! In the previous article I made several fellow authors and readers hungry, so I decided to come back earlier this time and bring you yet another recipe from the Japanese cuisine. Again, it’s quite simple one so probably almost everybody will be able recreate.



This is simple rice dish which combines green tea (ocha - お茶), steamed rice and different savoury toppings. The rice is will be partly submerged (tsuke - 漬け). Because this recipe is so quickly prepared and you can use leftover rice, it’s usually enjoyed as quick meal or dish at the end of meal to fill up. It’s also pretty light on your stomach, so it can be enjoyed late in night before going to bed. There are many variations - especially with the toppings, but also with what the rice is submerged in. In past most common was only hot water, but later it was replaced by tea (preferably Sencha or Genmaicha) or even dashi. Ochatsuke with tea tends to be blander and more rely on toppings to bring the flavours, but with dashi you can have only few simple toppings as the flavour is brought by dashi. I was preparing this as a dinner, so I decided for dashi. So, without further ado, let’s start cooking...

Top row from left: mirin, soy sauce, dashi, salt, round grain rice
Bottom row from left: salmon, white sesame, nori seaweed, spring onion

Ingredients (dinner for two)

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 cup of rice (preferably Japanese short grain)
  • 1/2 sheet of nori seaweed
  • 1 Tbsp. of white sesame
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 cup of dashi
  • 1 tsp. of mirin
  • 1 tsp. of soy sauce
  • salt


1. Start by preparing rice following the instruction on the package.

What to say... it’s rice.

2. Season salmon with salt. Place salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick baking sheet or in a non-stick pan with an oven-proof handle. Bake on 180°C (356°F) until salmon is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Salmon is living mostly in salt water, so don’t be afraid to put little bit more salt

3. Now is time for you to prepare the other toppings. Cut the half nori sheet into stripes - using scissors is quite neat trick. Cut your spring onions into small pieces. Plate small pan over medium heat and roast your white sesame seeds until golden brown (don’t burn them!).

It’s good idea to put your toppings in separate bowls so everybody can take how much they want

4. Close to finishing your salmon, put dashi, mirin, soy sauce and pinch of salt into small saucepan and bring to boil. After that pour it into small tea pot or some other container, which will allow you to pour it over the rice.

Note: if you’re doing ochatsuke with tea, just simply follow the instruction on how to prepare it. Then pour it into tea pot.

Dashi with mirin, soy sauce and salt, prepared for hell... oh, sorry, to be boiled...

5. After your salmon is done baking, flake it into smaller pieces. Put rice in bowl, top it with salmon and sprinkle shredded nori, roasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onion over it. Serve with the pot containing either dashi or tea - based on your pick.

Serve the finished dish with the pot so everybody can pour dashi / tea for themselves

After I finished first bowl of this ochatsuke, I went for another. It was simply amazing how all the flavours worked well together and how quickly you can devour the bowl of this. I again relived my memories of our visit of Momiji Chaya - tearoom and restaurant in the hearth of Kamakura.

Inspiration for this dish from Kamakura

This was the first ochatsuke I had and it blew my mind how simple dish it was and how amazing it tasted. It featured assortment of pickled seaweed (the small cup bottom left), pumpkin (middle one) and the one cup on right which I still don’t know, what it was - but still great nevertheless. And on this note, I’ll end it here for today. I know I promised desert last time, but I might continue with some more savoury dishes for now. Maybe I’ll be the cause of Requiem eating his phone next time? We will see...


Until then, またね!

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