Nara Chameshi (奈良茶飯)
Nara chameshi is a kind of takikomi gohan (rice boiled with seasonal ingredients) and a local cuisine in various regions of Nara Prefecture. Nara chameshi was a speciality of Kawasaki-juku Station during the Edo Period.
Nara chameishi is prepared by boiling a small amount of rice with nonperishable foods such as roasted soybeans, azuki beans, roasted chestnuts or millets or seasonal vegetables in green tea or roasted green tea seasoned with salt or soy sauce. It is often served with freshwater clam miso soup. Nutritionally well balanced, Nara chameshi became a speciality of the teahouse 'Mannennya' which was located at Kawasaki-juku station during the Edo Period.
Nara chameshi is said to have originated from rice eaten at priests' residences in temples such as Kofuku-ji Temple and Todai-ji Temple using tea which was valuable in those days and presented from people living in each temple's territory. Originally, rice boiled with tea prepared by used leaves was immersed in the strong tea prepared as the first decoction of the tea leaves. It is said that the recipe was introduced to the Edo and Kawasaki regions, and started to be served at Mannenya and other eateries. The humorous novel "Tokai dochu hizakurige" (Travels on Foot on the Tokaido) by Ikku JUPPENSHA referred to Mannenya and its Nara chameshi, making the teahouse further famous; in the latter half of the Edo Period, Mannenya became so popular that even some daimyo (feudal lords) dropped by for lunch.