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Japanese Ochazuke – A Quick Soup Lunch

Posted: February 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Balanced Lunch, Healthy Snacks, Pantry staples | Tags: , | No Comments »

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I’ve been working hard at my studies this afternoon, and somehow 2:30 rolled around and I hadn’t eaten anything yet.

As part of my nutrition practice (and really because I do it all the time anyway), I’ve been reading up on different cultural food and health connections. When a culture has been promoting the same food remedies for hundreds or even thousands of years, usually they work! Unfortunately, here in the west we are a culture of pill-popping and chemical science, and often overlook some of the most basic home remedies for our ailments. When they recently scientifically proved that chicken soup (a.k.a. Jewish Penicillin) reduces inflammation and clears stuffy airways, it wasn’t anything that I didn’t already know, but I cheered anyway! Hopefully more research will be done in this area!

Over the past few days I’ve been reading from “Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen “, a new cookbook I was kindly sent to review for my blog. This book makes eastern traditions of healing foods really easily accessible to a western audience. In addition to the 150 recipes in the book, there is a great list of 100 traditional Asian ingredients – including photos, and descriptions of the ingredients, their properties, how they are used, and where they can be found. For anyone interested in Asian cooking, this list is a great way to demystify some of the most commonly used Asian ingredients, and help to widen the palate and make shopping easier!

One of the recipes that caught my eye was the “Always-on-Call Ochazuke (p. 201)”, which seemed like the perfect lunch for this afternoon. Japanese Ochazuke is a really versatile dish based on cooked rice and green tea, with a variety of optional toppings. Traditional Japanese toppings include pickled umeboshi plum, nori, wasabi, salmon, bonito, or egg – but the possibilities are endless.

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I made this for lunch today, because it is the perfect dish to use up leftovers, and to ward off any impending sickness (I’ve been plagued over the past few weeks with allergies, and don’t want them to develop into anything else).

My Ochazuke:

3/4 cup leftover cooked brown rice (traditionally you would use white)

1/4 cup cooked chickpeas

1/2 small avocado, sliced

1 poached egg

a small handful shredded lettuce

a sprinkle of black sesame seeds

and 1/2 of a nori sheet, snipped into small slices

I assembled the ingredients in the bowl, and topped with: 2/3 cup freshly brewed green tea*, and some low sodium soy sauce to taste (it was about a tablespoon). *Note: I used Genmai-cha, a whole leaf green tea with toasted brown rice in it.

* * *If you have a bit of an open mind, according to traditional medicine “this is especially good for anyone with edema, urinary problems, small nodules (such as fibroids), or the feeling of having a lump in the throat; and that it helps regulate qi, resolve phlegm, and drain Dampness”. And I’ll vouch for the fact that the soup warmed me up and made me feel good!!

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