Rice porridge, or ‘Okayu’, is a very basic Japanese comfort food made from rice and water, or tea in my home prefecture.
Although it’s a very simple dish, it’s so delicious and perfect to eat when you’re sick! I added purple sweet potato to this recipe, but it can also be eaten plain or with umeboshi (pickled plum).
Rice porridge (okayu) is often served to sick people, elderly people, or babies because it is very easy to digest and doesn’t require much chewing, so it’s a bit like soup. It’s also warm and soft so it’s just perfect. My daughter was recently sick and she asked me to make this and I had a few purple sweet potatoes so I thought I would add those too. It gives it a little something extra (please someone get that reference) and makes it a little less basic or boring.
In most of Japan, this dish is made from water and rice so it has much more of a clear, white colour. But in my prefecture, we make it with tea so it turns out a brownish colour. My father will only eat this version of okayu because it is what he has grown up eating. He really loves it and eats it at every meal. We call it ‘okaisan’ because of the difference in dialect, but it’s pretty much the same thing. There a lot of different things you can add to okayu, like sweet potato, mochi, or umeboshi, or you can just it eat plain. It tastes great either way! I hope you enjoy the recipe!
- 2 cups of uncooked rice
- 10 cups of water
- 1 Japanese tea bag of any kind
- 1 purple sweet potato
- Cut the sweet potato into bite size pieces and leave them in a bowl of water.
- Wash and rinse the uncooked rice until the washing water becomes clear then drain with a strainer.
- Place the drained rice and 10 cups of water in a large pan.
- Bring it to boil over high heat then add a tea bag.
- Turn the heat down to medium to simmer to cook the rice for about 10 minutes.
- Drain the water from the sweet potatoes and add into the pan.
- Simmer for a further 10 min to cook the sweet potato bits.
- Serve in a rice bowl.