Japanese Inspired Dishes, Macrobiotic Recipes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Brown Rice and Bancha

 …there’s a bit of an art to cooking brown rice…. but there are ways of doing it that avoid the pitfalls….

…brown rice is a great food for a cleanse mono-diet (1-5 days)… gentle and nourishing…

…and personally, I think that the beginning of spring is a good time of year to try a cleanse such as this…

….whether it be for one day, three days or five….

…below is a recipe for a macrobiotic meal using brown rice, that tastes lovely, is kind and restorative to the bodymind, and would additionally be an excellent way to finish a brown rice diet cleanse…  and also includes a method for cooking brown rice in bancha twig tea…

Steamed tofu and vegetables with tahini miso sauce, gomasio and brown rice.

Macrobiotic food at its simplest.

steamed tofu, arame and vegetables with brown rice


I always think that the cold beginnings of new year in most parts of the northern hemisphere is not a good time to embark on diets and weight loss and things like that …


…but when spring comes, and you maybe feel like shedding the wintery blues, then a brown rice diet can be a really nice thing to do…

Just a few simple rules:  

Cook the brown rice properly.

Eat as much as you want but at the same time don’t over eat.

Drink plenty of water (although not at the same time as eating rice).

Drink Bancha Tea, (also known as Kukicha).

Prepare yourself before the diet, eat lightly and be positive! 🙂

Come off the diet gently.

Find a relatively peaceful and stress-free time in your schedule to do the diet…e.g. a quiet weekend…be nice to yourself…go for a long walk…read a good book ….?

Don’t think of such a diet as ‘something to be endured’ – if you don’t enjoy it, then don’t do it…

Living a peaceful, kind and compassionate life begins with yourself.

Be kind to yourself.


There’s a Zen saying that goes something like this:

When you are alone, behave as though you have guests, and when you are with guests, behave as though you are alone.



A few practical tips about a brown rice cleanse:

If you have on-going health problems, then you may want to cook the rice differently from the recipe I’ve laid out below. (Soaking the rice for several hours first, and cooking it with a little less water – see website link below).

Be aware that you may have symptoms such as headaches or feelings of weariness during the diet.  This is not unusual.

If you reheat rice, investigate how to do this carefully, as cooked rice can harbour harmful bacteria….but it gets to taste quite nice cold actually 🙂

To flavour the rice garnish with gomasio (see recipe below), prepared without salt.

If you are interested in macrobiotic food and a brown rice cleanse, here is a very good website to gather more advice:



Brown Rice, cooked in Bancha Tea.

Steamed Tofu and Vegetables.

Tahini Miso Sauce.


 Ample for 2


diced firm tofu, fine ribbons of cabbage, diced carrots

Rice, Tofu and Vegetables 

  • 120 gms. long grain or basmati brown rice –  (preferably organic)
  • 200gms. firm plain tofu
  • 200gms. carrots
  • 200gms. hard green cabbage (such as sweetheart)
  • 10gms. bancha twig tea
  • 400ml. water – (preferably filtered)
  • pinch of salt ( optional)
  • 5gms. dried arame seaweed
  • 50ml. filtered water


  • 50gms. sesame seeds
  • pinch of salt (optional)

    Long Grain Brown Rice, Bancha Twig Tea and Sesame seeds

Tahini/Miso Sauce:

  • 4-5 tbs. tahini (creamed sesame)
  • 1 tbs. miso
  • 1.5 tbs. tamari
  • 100ml. water – (preferably filtered)


Tahini Sauce and Gomasio:

  • On a medium high heat, toast 50 gms. of sesame seeds in a dry skillet for 2-3 mins. until golden and popping.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Transfer to a grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a coarse powder.  About 1/3 of the seeds remain whole.  Add a pinch of salt if using.
  • In a jar place sauce ingredients: tahini, miso, tamari and water, and then lid the jar and shake thoroughly.
  • Transfer sauce and gomasio to separate serving bowls.

Rice and vegetables:

*Bancha tea is optional : you can just use 33oml. of water instead. It’s just quite an interesting flavour.

  • In a non-reactive saucepan, add 400ml. water and 10gms. bancha tea.
  • Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 12 mins.
  • Remove from heat, allow to cool a little, and then strain.
  • Measure out exactly 330ml. of tea.  Set aside.
  • Place arame in 50 ml. water and soak for approx. 15mins.
  • Wash peel and dice carrots. (about 1 cm. sq. cubes)
  • Wash and finely slice cabbage into ribbons.
  • Rinse and dice tofu (cubes no more than 1 cm.sq.).
  • In a steamer pan, layer the vegetables and tofu:
  • Spread the diced carrots over the base of the steamer basket.
  • Then layer the tofu.
  • Then spread the washed sliced cabbage ribbons.
  • Finally spread the arame seaweed over the cabbage (let the soaking water go into the steamer pan along with enough water to steam vegetables for 15 mins.)
  • Cover with a tight-fitting lid and set aside.


  • Weigh and wash rice very thoroughly.
  • Using a non-reactive pan (that has a good lid), on a medium-high heat, allow the pan to get quite hot, and add the washed rice.
  • Dry-roast the rice in the pan for 3 -4 mins.
  • Stir the rice constantly to avoid burning.
  • When the rice is completely dry it will begin to pop.  It will have a nutty fragrance.  It will begin to turn slightly golden and rattle in the pan.
  • Add a pinch of salt if using.
  • Add 330ml. of bancha tea to the rice pan, and allow it to boil rapidly for 30secs.
  • Cover tightly (using a layer of silver foil to seal completely-see photo) and reduce heat to absolute minimum.  I used a heat diffuser.  The rice really needs to be on a very low heat, otherwise it may stick or burn before it’s cooked.
  • Leave the rice to cook for 40 mins …without lifting the lid…(unless you think it’s burning).
  • Switch off the heat and allow the rice to stand, covered for a further 6-8 mins.
  • Then run a fork through it to fluff it up.
  • 20 mins. before serving: bring the vegetable steamer to the boil and steam the vegetables for 15 mins.
  • Serve rice and vegetables with spoonfuls of tahini sauce and a scattering of gomasio.

A lovely meal, any time… and a good meal to have after a brown rice cleanse….







” How can we ever lose interest in life?

Spring has come again

And cherry trees bloom in the mountains. “


18thC Japanese Zen Poet




2 thoughts on “Brown Rice and Bancha”

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