Updated: February 26, 2016
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Coming Down With A Cold? Try Some Okayu!
Do you have remedy when you are sick in your country? Okayu is a perfect remedy to get rid of the cold in Japan. Let's learn about it.
Remedy to treat cold
People all over the world have their own favorite remedies to ward off colds, or to treat cold symptoms once they've already come down with one. In the West, chicken soup is usually the first home remedy that people will think of, with lemon and honey tea a close second. But what do Japanese people eat when they're trying to ward off a cold?
That's Okayu in Japan
The answer, more often than not, is Okayu (粥), or rice porridge. Sometimes also called rice gruel (which sounds less appetizing than it actually is) or congee, rice porridge is easy to make, and easy to eat. It has been used in caring for the sick in Japan for hundreds of years, because it is easy on the digestive system, and can be flavoured with countless other healing vegetables, herbs and spices or more, to get you feeling well really quickly. In this sense, okayu has popularly been thought of in Japan as an ideal medicinal delivery system for your ailing body.
Easy to cook with electric rice cooker
Okayu is so useful and popular that most Japanese electric rice cookers have a special setting to make okayu (a normal rice cooker without this setting will cook the rice until it's dry, so if you plan to use a rice cooker to make okayu, please keep an eye on it!)
Okayu with Umeboshi
These are very salty, pungent pickled Japanese plums Their salty tart flavour can make your mouth pucker, but once you enjoy the taste, you will always crave them! Japanese traditional remedies tell us that umeboshi are an excellent remedy against colds, but also against stomach viruses or bacterial contamination (caused by food poisoning) in general, because they are powerfully antiseptic. They are also used to treat acid stomach and indigestion, since they do a good job in regulating alkalinity. If you're putting them in okayu, though, you might want to leave it unsalted as it cooks, and let the umeboshi do the job instead. Incidentally, umeboshi is also a popular hangover remedy!
Okayu with Daikon radish
Daikon, or Japanese radish is a very popular cold remedy. It clears phlegm, and can help with a sore throat. Because daikon is rich in Vitamin C (which your body uses up more quickly when you are ill), it can also help your immune system to recover more quickly, and get you back on your feet! You can cook the daikon in your okayu if you want to, but it is more effective if you grate it raw on top, and then mix it in.
Try it next time
So, next time you're feeling a little run down or under the weather, please try some healthy okayu! Be well!
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