Ochazuke – ‘ocha’ meaning tea and ‘zuke’ meaning to submerge – is a dish of rice with seasonal toppings and a fragrant, hot dashi or tea broth poured over the top.
- 1 skinless sashimi-grade snapper fillet, bones removed (see Notes)
- 1 20-cm (8 in) piece konbu (dried kelp, see Note), soaked in cold water for 15 minutes to rehydrate, cut in half widthways
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1 tbsp salt
- rice, to serve
- arare (puffed rice crisps), to serve
- kizami nori (finely shredded nori), to serve
- wasabi, to serve
- 800 ml (27 fl oz) katsuo dashi (see Notes)
- 50 ml (1¾ fl oz) light soy sauce
- 50 ml (1¾ fl oz) sake
- salt, to taste
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.
Curing time: 15-30 minutes
- Thoroughly dry the snapper fillet and konbu with paper towel. Lay one piece of konbu on a large piece of plastic wrap and evenly sprinkle half of the sake and half of the salt on top.
- Slice the snapper very thinly and arrange on top of the seasoned konbu. Sprinkle with the remaining sake and salt and cover with the other sheet of konbu. Wrap the snapper tightly in the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cure for 15–30 minutes. The cured fish will be firmer and slightly salty.
- Warm the dashi in a saucepan over low heat and season with the light soy sauce, sake and salt.
- To serve, place a mound of rice in each bowl and top with the cured snapper, arare, kizami nori and a small amount of wasabi. Transfer the warmed dashi to a vessel with a spout, such as a pitcher or a teapot, and allow your diners to pour in as much or as little dashi as they like.
• Taichazuke is usually made with tai, or red sea bream (Pagrus major). This can be difficult to find in Australia, so we have substituted its close relative, Australasian snapper (Pagrus auratus). You may like to use another kind of sweet, firm-fleshed white fish in its place.
• Konbu and kombu are both names used for dried edible kelp (a type of seaweed).
Recipe from Tokyo Local by Caryn Liew and Brendan Liew, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99