What to Eat For Breakfast: A Recipe for Japanese Tea and Rice Soup

tea and rice soup

If you’re sick of toast and coffee and find yourself wondering what to eat for breakfast on the reg, look no further than the Japanese breakfast table, and a soup made of tea…

Japan has one of the healthiest and longest-living populations on the planet. It could be because Japanese people traditionally have eaten a vegetable-heavy diet low in fat and sugar, but it could also be because they know how to do breakfast right. One of the most popular breakfast items is Ochazuke (or Chazuke, depending on who you ask). It’s the milk and cereal of Japan.

Green tea or a smoky fish stock called dashi is poured over rice and topped with sea vegetables just like you would pour milk over a bowl of cereal and add berries.

tea and rice soup

Ochazuke is popular because many Japanese households have a rice cooker filled with fluffy rice going almost 24 hours a day. You can also make Ochazuke from any leftover rice you have lying around. I always make this dish with leftover rice from Chinese or Thai takeout. Just bring the rice to room temperature and pour the boiling hot water over it to warm it, no cooking necessary. The flavor of this “soup” is very mild but the smoky bonito flakes make it pleasantly salty. The caffeine from the green tea will perk you right up and the brown rice will give you the energy you need to make it through the morning.

tea and rice soup

Ochazuke Recipe 

Serves 1

1 green tea bag (sencha is best)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 cup cooked rice (brown rice is best)
1 teaspoon dried seaweed flakes (nori)
1/4 cup bonito flakes


Boil 1 1/2 cups of water. Pour water over rice and tea bag in a shallow bowl and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag. Stir in the soy sauce and 1/2 the bonito flakes, stir a few times and then top with remaining bonito flakes and seaweed.

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Photos by Ally-Jane