Food & dining

Seasonal Recipes

Recipe: Chazuke, a Japanese rice soup, uses a green tea broth with soy and vinegar for depth

Chazuke (Japanese rice soup) with tofu and sweet potato
Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe
Chazuke (Japanese rice soup) with tofu and sweet potato

Serves 4

Chazuke is a simple Japanese bowl of rice partially submerged in green tea broth (in Kyoto, it is known as bubuzuke). It’s a way to give leftover rice a new life in aromatic broth, then start adding other ingredients. Add an egg with a slightly runny yolk or a small piece of broiled fish to each serving; it’s very customizable. This version is not traditional. It uses roasted green tea (hojicha) with a little soy sauce and rice vinegar for depth. These instructions also include making long-grain white rice (that’s the variety most people have on hand), cooked according to the “pasta method,” in lots of water. Garnish the dish with togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend) and any number of Japanese pickles, available at Asian markets and some well-stocked supermarkets.

RICE

Salt, to taste
cups long-grain white rice

1. Bring a large saucepan of boiling salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 11 to 12 minutes, or until it is tender when you taste a grain.

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2. Drain into a colander but do not rinse.

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SOUP

2medium sweet potatoes, cubed
1block (14 ounces) firm tofu, cubed and patted dry
1tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
cups water
1green-tea bag (hojicha)
3scallions, chopped
2tablespoons soy sauce
1tablespoon rice vinegar
2eggs
1avocado, sliced
Togarashi and/or Japanese pickles, for garnish (optional)

1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a mixing bowl, toss the sweet potatoes and tofu with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread out on the baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

3. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the tea bag and simmer for 5 minutes. Lower to medium-low heat. Add the scallions, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and pinch of salt. Continue simmering for 10 minutes.

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4. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the eggs and simmer for 6 minutes exactly. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan and transfer to a bowl of very cold water. With the back of the spoon, gently tap the shells and peel the eggs.

5. Have on hand 4 large soup bowls. Use a ramekin or other small cup to press in as much rice as you can to mold it. Turn it upside down into a soup bowl. Continue molding rice for the other 3 bowls. Arrange the tofu and sweet potatoes around the rice. Pour in enough of the tea broth to come halfway up the rice. Add avocado. Cut the eggs in half and set a half in each bowl. Garnish the bowls with togarashi or pickles.
Luke Pyenson

Luke Pyenson can be reached at lukepyenson@gmail.com.