Using matcha is a departure from the traditional way of making this uber-simple Japanese dish - generally, tea brewed using regular green tea leaves is used. It's a flexible kind of comfort food, so toppings can chop and change depending on your tastes. Use slices of raw salmon instead of the omelette, or chunks of cooked fish. Scatter over some sliced green onion, toasted sesame seeds or torn bits of nori instead of the seasoned, pre-cut version.
- 3 tsp matcha powder (see Note)
- 1 tbsp warm water
- 1 litre (4 cups) boiling water
- 4 pickled Japanese plums (umeboshi; see Note)
- seasoned, shredded nori, to taste (see Note)
- sliced Japanese pickled daikon, to taste (see Note)
- 300 g (1½ cups) medium grain rice
- 560 ml (2¼ cups) water
- ½ tsp dashi powder (see Note)
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) warm water
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp mirin
- 1½ tsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp vegetable oil
- 6 eggs, whisked well
- 3 tsp vegetable oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To prepare the rice, combine the rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid then cook over medium-low heat for 12 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and stand until ready to use.
Meanwhile, to make the omelette, combine the dashi with the water in a large bowl and stir to dissolve the dashi. Add all the remaining ingredients except the oil and whisk to just combine. Preheat the oven grill to medium-high.
Heat the oil in a 17 cm (base measurement) heavy-based frying pan with an ovenproof handle over medium-high. Add the egg mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to cook around the edges. Push the edges of the omelette toward the centre of the pan, allowing uncooked mixture to run underneath. Continue the process for another 3-4 minutes or until the omelette is about half cooked through. Place the pan under the grill, about 3 cm from the heat, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the omelette is only just set. Remove from the heat and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wooden board and stand for another 10 minutes or until firm enough to cut, then cut into pieces about 5 cm square. Cut each square in half and set aside.
Combine the matcha powder and warm water in a large bowl and stir to form a smooth paste. Add the boiling water and whisk to combine well. Divide the cooked rice among 4 large, deep bowls then place the omelette slices on top of the rice with a pickled plum. Pour hot tea over each bowl of rice, scatter over the seasoned nori then serve immediately with pickled daikon passed separately.
• Pickled Japanese plums, nori, pickled daikon and dashi powder are available from Asian grocers.
• Matcha powder comes in a variety of grades; the more expensive ones are made using earlier picked leaves and the flavour is more delicate. Cheaper matcha is made using mature leaves and the taste is more astringent. “Kitchen” or “culinary” grade matcha (it’s usually labelled as such) tends to be slightly lower grade, but feel free to experiment to find the matcha for cooking you most like the taste of. Matcha is available from Japanese or more general Asian grocery stores.
Photography by Leanne Kitchen. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Dixie Elliott.