Japanese Rice Porridge, Okayu (お粥) is very similar to other rice porridges that are enjoyed in Asia – Congee in China, Jook in Korea, Zhou in Taiwan, and so on. Basic Okayu is a savory gruel made with rice and water, usually at a 5:1 or 7:1 ratio which can be adjusted for texture. Although Okayu is often prepared with water, sometimes other liquids such as chicken broth, green tea or dashi are used. A little salt can be added for flavor or eggs can be whipped in for texture. A related Japanese dish, Zōsui, is made with cooked rice instead of raw rice and has a completely different consistency. Another Japanese dish, Ochazuke, is made by pouring green tea over cooked rice.
But for me, simple is better and I use just short grained Japanese rice and water. When preparing the rice, you do not want to overwash it because you need the rice to retain its glutinous sticky consistency (and don’t worry- rice is really gluten free!) Just rinse it once in water to clean out the impurities and you are good to go!
Okayu is sort of the equivalent of plain toast. By itself it’s a bland and easy to digest meal that people can eat with an upset stomach. It can be flavored with a little chicken broth and ginger to jazz it up a bit while still retaining its soft and easy to digest consistency.
In Asia, Rice Porridge is a very popular breakfast meal and a variety of ingredients can be mixed in or used as toppings to create a filling and nutritious meal. Salt or soy sauce can be used to give it a more savory flavor, while a little mirin or brown sugar can be added if you like it a little bit on the sweet side. Sesame or Chili oil can be added to give the dish a wonderful aroma and a little heat. Salmon flakes, chicken, or cooked ground beef or pork can be added. There are too many toppings to name them all, but check the notes section below for some ideas.
Japanese Rice Porridge is simple to make, delicious, and the toppings can turn this bland breakfast gruel into a gourmet porridge. I show my 12 favorite toppings below, but the list goes on. Give this recipe a try and I can guarantee that once you try this easy recipe out, you will make this over and over again.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.