This recipe is slightly adapted from Wieke´s cookbook, and it is supposed to be a breakfast meal, but I can easily imagine it eating it for lunch or dinner, with a side of veggies. Ume-cha-zuke is basically a brown rice porridge cooked with tea and flavoured with umeboshi. Sounds odd, but it´s really great and refreshing! You can use a green tea or a roasted twig tea (which has much less caffeine) such as kukicha, which is the one I used.
Bring to boil 2 small bowls of rice (I had a long grain rice/wild rice mixture leftover) with 3 bowls of fresh made tea (1 used a tablespoon of the twigs for this amount). Mix in about a teaspoon of umepaste diluted in a bit of tea. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Most likely you will still have quite some liquid left – I took off the lid, brought the porridge to a higher temperature and let some of the liquid evaporate until I got a desired consistency. It should not be creamy, but also not very watery. Ume-cha-zuke is best served with chopped spring onion garnish and thin strips of nori seaweed (easiest is to cut up the strips with scissors). I also mixed in a 1/4 tsp of wasabi paste, yum!
I liked combining it with a small serving of snow nabe, made simply by simmering a few tablespoons of grated daikon with a pinch of salt, a sprinkle of lemon juice and small cubes of tofu (about one slice for two people is enough). And of course miso soup, as every morning 😀
Today I again tried out two recipes from Wieke´s cookbook – Daikon in lemon and Carrots sweet and sour, both with a very fresh tangy spring taste. It would have been a better idea not to combine two quite sour dishes on one plate, but well, now I know 🙂 They were pretty delish anyway, and together with some fresh wild rucola they sure must have given a boost to my detoxing liver…
They are (yes, again…) very simple and quick 🙂 For the Daikon in lemon just slice a 10 cm chunk of daikon into thin rounds, grate 1/2 tsp of organic fresh lemon peel, squeeze out one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (or just half a tablespoon if you like less sour), mix all together in a small pot with a thick bottom and stir over a low flame for a few minutes. The daikon should not be too soft. Add 1/4 tsp of salt to get the daikon´s juices out and you can add a bit of water if necessary, to prevent burning.
For the Carrots sweet and sour slice one big carrot into matchsticks, combine in a small pot with 2 tablespoons (or 1 or 1 1/2 tbsp if you like less sour) of ume plum vinegar and stir for a few minutes over medium flame until the carrot softens up a bit, then stir in one tablespoon of rice malt. At the end you can mix in about one tablespoon of roasted sesame seeds.
I served these meals with rucola and a side of brown rice+wild rice mixture (with stirred in dried shiitake which I soaked, cooked first in a bit of water, and then, when the water was almost gone, added one tablespoon of shoyu and cooked again until all liquid evaporated). Garnished with black sesame/brown sesame gomasio. For protein I had cooked split peas reheated with salt, fresh celery leaves and sliced parsnip.