OCHA: JAPAN’S NATIONAL DRINK
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This year will be an exciting one in anticipation of the coming Winter Olympic next year 2010! The Richmond Olympic Oval had a grand Opening Ceremony on December 12, 2008 and it is enormous and huge, beautiful, magnificent, building.
Being a Nisei, I didn’t know much about the various Japanese teas, but green tea has a very good antioxidant qualities. Beverages or things to drink are called nomimono in Japanese, the most popular of which is ocha (tea). The word cha and the brew itself came from China and was initially regarded as medicinal and a stimulant. Drinking tea has since evolved into a philosophy that permeates both the spiritual life and the physical environment of the Japanese.
OCHA: JAPAN’S NATIONAL DRINK
The two most common varieties of Japanese tea are sencha and bancha. Following are descriptions of the various types of popular Japanese teas:
SENCHA is a green tea made of very tender leaves which comes in many gradations of quality. The delicate flavour is a blend of subtle sweetness and bitterness.
BANCHA is made of less tender leaves with some stems included and it is the least expensive, It brews a very tasty, brown tea and though not as fine as sencha, it is often the preferred tea as it is relatively neutral in flavour and compliments most foods.
HONCHA or HOJICHA is a roasted, more flavourful variation of bancha which may be served cold. The roasting process changes the woodsy, green tea leaves to a chestnut brown.
GENMAI CHA is a tea blend mixed with kernels of toasted and popped brown rice. This tea has very rich, nutty flavour and is a favourite in many homes.
MUGICHA is made from roasted, unpolished barley and is considered the most healthful to drink. It is an excellent summer drink when served cold.
MATCHA, which is in a class of its own, is a bright green powdered tea served in the Japanese tea ceremony and is made from the finest quality tea.
KOBUCHA is made from seasoned kelp.
KOCHA is black tea, like that favoured in the Western world. It is served with sugar, lemon or milk, and is often a preferred substitute for coffee.
GYOKURO is the most precious and highly revered of the regularly-served Japanese teas. Young buds of only the finest and oldest plants are carefully nurtured as a special technique. It is rare and quite expensive, and as a result, sipped a little at a time.
A delicious treat to go with green tea is ohagi — red bean paste-coated rice.
3/4 cup mochi gome (Sweet) rice
3 Tablespoons regular short grain rice
Wash both together and cook in rice cooker with 1 cup water.
When cooled, make rice into about 1 1/2 inch balls.
Take heaping tablespoon of anko and place in middle of a clean damp cloth and flatten to about 5 to 6 inch diameter and place rice in centre and wrap around. Makes 12 ohagi.
You can buy the anko in packages or in cans (koshian) in a Japanese grocery store.
1 large raspberry jello
1 large tropical punch or mixed fruit jello
2 packages Knox gelatin
4 cups hot water
1 can koshian
2 cups cold water
Add 4 cups hot water to above and mix well.
Add 1 can koshian to the mixture and mix well with a fork first and then with a wire whip.
Add 2 cups cold water and mix.
Rinse a 9 x12 inch Pyrex dish before pouring in the Jello mixture. Refrigerate.
Hoping that the recession will come to a quick end.