At this time of the year when the weather is cold and flu season is around, my children usually take turns to bring some bugs home from school and last week was my daughter’s turn. She was feeling under the weather with high fever and coughs, so I decided to make some warm Japanese Rice Porridge (Okayu) for her.
Rice Porridge, or we call it Okayu (お粥), is a simple dish made from just rice and water. As the rice is very soft and easily digestible, rice porridge in Japan is commonly known as a food served to people who are recovering from sickness, the elderly, or babies.
Compared to other countries where rice porridge is eaten, Japanese rice porridge is much thicker. A rice-to-water ratio is 1 : 5 for typical rice porridge (we call it zen-gayu), compared to 1 : 12 for a Cantonese-style congee. Japanese rice porridge can be made much quicker than the Chinese congee and we also don’t seem to eat porridge as frequently as the Chinese do as a regular meal.
Sometimes the rice porridge is cooked in dashi stock, chicken stock, or miso to flavor the broth. If you like, salmon, egg, or vegetables can be added to the rice porridge. However, I made today’s rice porridge very basic and plain without any modification so you can enjoy it with optional toppings on the side.
By the way, I have received this beautiful gift from Akazuki. The set includes 2 rice bowls and 2 tea cups and it’s a perfect gift for a couple! Their Tetsubin (cast iron tea pot) is now on sale for $22, and if you need a set of 2 Chawanmushi cups, there are a few that are on sale for $10!
Right now everything is 10% off on their website if you use the promotional code “JUSTONECOOKBOOK“. Have fun shopping!
- 50 gram uncooked premium short grain rice (a little less than ¼ cup or 4 Tbsp.)
- 250 ml water
- Small donabe (earthenwere pot) or any heavy bottomed pot*
- Shredded Japanese Salted Salmon
- Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum)
- Chopped scallions
- Shredded nori seaweed + white sesame seeds
- Mitsuba for garnish
- Rinse the rice in water, then drain. Repeat until the water runs clear.
- Soak the rice in the pot for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, drain water completely.
- Then add 250 ml of water into the pot.
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
- When boiling, lower the heat to the stove’s lowest setting (make sure to use the right size of stove burner for your pot size). Open the lid and gently mix with the spoon once, making sure rice is not stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Cover the lid* and simmer the rice for 30 minutes. During this time, I never open the lid or mix the rice.**
- After 30 minutes, turn off the heat and let it steam for 10 minutes. The rice should be soft and thickened. If you want to add something, like a beaten egg or salt, this is the time to add. Today I didn’t add anything and kept it simple. Serve into individual rice bowl and garnish and put toppings of your choice.