May 16

Ginger Honey Okayu (Japanese Rice Porridge)

in ad-free, Breakfast, Giveaway, Honey, Japanese, Miso Hungry Podcast, Rice & Noodles, Vegetarian

Ginger Honey Okayu

Ginger honey okayu (okay = Japanese rice porridge) is another one of my favorite home remedies when I’m feeling under the weather, in addition to another one of my favorite ways to pair up ginger and honey (remember my Honey Ginger Lemon Tea from last week?)!  Okayu (or kayu) is a simple Japanese porridge made by cooking rice in more water than usual, adding a bit of salt and sometimes some toppings.  (If you’re familiar with congee, okayu is the Japanese version.)   Okayu is a common breakfast dish in Japan, as well as an easy-to-make baby food, or something to eat when you’re feeling under the weather.

Okayu cooked in a rice cooker

I take the easy way out when I make okayu.  I use my rice cooker.  I’ve made okayu on the stove top many times (stove top cooking instructions included in the recipe!), but inevitably one of the kids needs something and I let the okayu cook too long, and I pass the point of perfection, turning the grains of rice into mush.  With my rice cooker, all I have to do is use the “Porridge” setting, and then no matter what distractions my kids might throw my way, I don’t have to worry about ruining the rice!

Rice cooker porridge setting

Speaking of rice cookers, Allison and I are giving away one of Zojirushi’s brand new Micom Rice Cookers that they just released last month!  To enter, head on over to our Miso Hungry website (entries open until 11:59 PST on Monday, May 21st, 2012)!  While you’re at it, learn more about rice and why we love our rice cookers by listening to episode 17 and episode 18 of Miso Hungry—all about rice!

Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker

I love adding a bit of fresh grated ginger to the pot when cooking the rice so that the finished porridge is infused with its spicy sweetness.  Adding a drizzle of honey just before serving adds a wonderful balance to the bite of the ginger.  Although not traditional, it makes a delicious twist!  Now go make yourself a pot of ginger honey okayu and curl up with a good book for some “you” time!

Comforting Ginger Honey Okayu

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Ginger Honey Okayu (Japanese Rice Porridge)

Makes 4 servings

1 cup uncooked Japanese-style white rice (short grain rice)
5 cups water for thick okayu (7 cups water for thinner okayu)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons honey (use more or less depending on your tastes)

1. Wash the rice in cool water, then drain. Repeat until the water runs clear.

2. To make the okayu in a rice cooker: Put the rice, water, ginger, and salt in the cooking bowl of the rice cooker and gently stir to combine. Cook the rice using the “Porridge” setting. When the rice completes cooking, open the lid and gently stir the rice to loosen it.

3. To make the okayu on the stove top: Put the rice and water in a heavy bottomed pot and let it sit for 30 minutes. Add the salt and ginger, stir to combine, and then cover the pot. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat. When the mixture beings to boil, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook the rice for 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, keeping the pot covered, and let the residual heat steam the rice for 10 minutes. Open the lid and gently stir the rice to loosen it.

4. To serve: Divide the okayu into individual rice bowls. Drizzle one tablespoon of honey over the rice in each bowl and serve.

* Disclosure: Zojirushi is providing the rice cooker for our Miso Hungry giveaway.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Abigail (aka Mamatouille) May 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

What a great idea for the honey and ginger in the okayu!

Both my boys had okayu for their first baby food, and I had it in the hospital after both of their births—it was so comforting with some umeboshi after being exhausted from birthing babies! I absolutely loved all the hospital food in Japan.


Sophie May 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm

This looks delicious! I was wondering what the water to rice ratio would be if I were to use brown rice? I expect that I would have to cook it a bit longer as well…


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar May 17, 2012 at 3:40 am

Neat! This sounds awesome!


LiztheChef May 17, 2012 at 8:22 am

Beautiful photo!! Hope you are feeling well…


Tom May 17, 2012 at 11:11 am

This looks delicious! Could I leave it soaking overnight to save time in the morning?


Urban Wife May 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Ginger in rice porridge? How very clever!


Karriann May 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I’ll give this a try when I’ll have the sniffles :)

“Spice it Up”


cocopuff1212 May 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

I’m going to buy one of these really smart rice-cookers — possibly smarter than me — when we move back to the U.S. !


Shea May 24, 2012 at 12:49 am

Hmm… didn’t work with the porridge setting on my rice cooker- and I have a Zojirushi too! Had a ton of water left over on top, ended up finishing it on the stove top :\


Fuji Mama (Rachael) May 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

@Shea — That is really odd! I’ve tested this recipe several times, and actually just made this exact recipe for breakfast this morning in our Zojirushi and didn’t have any problems. 5:1 and 7:1 ratios are classic okayu ratios, so it shouldn’t have been a problem. My only thoughts are that your porridge setting is doing something funky, or it’s possible that you used the rice cooker measurements for measuring instead of regular measuring cups? I provide measurements in regular measuring cup style so that the measurements are standardized for cooking in both the rice cooker and on the stove top, instead of using the measuring cup which comes with the rice cooker. (One rice cooker cup is actually only about 3/4 cup.)


Will May 31, 2012 at 3:32 am

Really enjoyed the porridge. It is delicious. I posted a picture of my efforts here.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) May 31, 2012 at 10:26 am

@Will — I am so glad! Thank you for taking the time to share!


Miyoshi July 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I am sorry, but please, please don’t call this Japanese!
We Japanese NEVER put honey or ginger in Okayu. It’s way too far from Okayu we have, and it’s like going to a Korean owned restaurant with Mexican cooks who never had real Japanese dishes before. Every time we get those phony “Japanese food”, we get very disappointed, then have to feel like telling everybody in the building, “oh please don’t think this is Japanese food…!!”.

I don’t mean to insult you but his dish of yours is one of those…. if it taste good, congrats. But it’s definitely not Japanese and I don’t want people think Japanese food taste like this.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) July 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

@Miyoshi– I’m sorry that you are offended. Although I’m big on preserving the traditional way things are done, I also believe that there is room for experimentation. When fusion is done well, I’m a big fan!

I state in the post, “Although not traditional, it makes a delicious twist!” It’s a way that I love combining traditional okayu and the home remedy of ginger honey lemon tea. It may not be your taste, but that’s what’s great about the world of food—there’s something for everyone!


Noriko July 21, 2012 at 10:08 am

Kudos to you for thinking outside of the box. I’ve never tried honey with Okayu, but LOVE ginger with okayu.


Home Remedies for Sore Throat August 11, 2012 at 11:14 am

my mom always cook food with ginger! I wonder if ginger is good to cure sore throat.


Maggie January 17, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I literally just finished making this. It’s so good!! I had never had okayu before and just decided to try it on a whim. I will definitely be making this the next time I’m sick.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm

@Maggie — I’m so glad!! Feel better!


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Shanie November 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm

I made this a week ago and everyone who tried it loved it , I added some toasted sesame seeds on top. I know I will be enjoying this recipe often, thank you very much!


Lillian T. Caldwell December 2, 2014 at 12:48 am

This looks delicious! I was wondering what the water to rice ratio would be if I were to use brown rice? Can you help me out here?


Iris May 10, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Hi, this looks tasty but I, too have no luck with my porridge setting on my Zojirushi. It has a line for how much water to put in for half the rice cooker measuring cup amount of rice, and still am left with lots of water, no congee. I keep hitting the cook button to reheat, takes a long time. But reading your reply to another comment above, I will try using regular cup measurements.


Marie June 15, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Hi! I loved your post. Can you tell us more about this rice cooker? Can I use the timer with the slow cooker? I mean, set it to finish for breakfast or kind of?

Thank you!!


Mark Pool June 18, 2017 at 4:13 am

What if you don’t have a rice cooker with a porridge setting?


TJ February 24, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Okay, I was looking at this recipe and thinking that sounds kinda good. I had tried making congee type rice before to mixed and disappointing results. But the magic word here was ginger… I love ginger! So I thought I would give it a go. I don’t have a rice cooker, so I followed the stove top direction.

I must say, the results wow’ed me! It is delicious and I am in love!

Thank you for this recipe!


Nakamura June 21, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Hi! It’s the first time I made this and I loved it! But since I didn’t have honey I went for a salty version and used some miso. It came out delicious! The combination of sweetness from the ginger and saltiness from the miso is super good!


Amy October 7, 2020 at 2:55 pm

I made this for lunch and added sesame seeds on top.

10/10 would ,make again


Tahir Imran October 7, 2021 at 9:09 pm

I love adding a bit of freshly grated ginger to the pot when cooking the rice so that the finished porridge is infused with its spicy sweetness. Adding a drizzle of honey just before serving adds a wonderful balance to the bite of the ginger. Although not traditional, it makes a delicious twist!
I like rice cooker


kennots November 13, 2021 at 8:38 am

Unique recipe, I eat rice par meal a day but it’s really different and unique. I obviously try it. And waiting for the next recipe. thanks


Mary B. May December 24, 2021 at 6:54 am

There is a reason rice is one of the most extensively consumed foods on the earth. It’s protean, affordable, and does not take long to make. But just because making rice is a quick bid does not mean it’s easy to make succulent rice. In fact, getting rice just right can be a finical business considering there are precise measures, rates (water to rice), heat situations, and timings to be considered. There are also loads of kinds of rice, like basmati and GABA rice. Some of them demand different– and frequently specific– cooking practices.


Shelly Housel December 30, 2021 at 12:58 pm

I’m wondering if I can use a plain rice cooker to make this. I have a rice cooker, but it’s only ON and WARM, with measurements for “Brown” and “Other” rice. I also have an Instant Pot, but it doesn’t have the “porridge” setting and I had bad luck (aka “burn error”) when I tried to make oatmeal the other day.
Thanks for any tips on converting this to the appliances I have!


Shelly January 1, 2022 at 8:29 am

I tired making this in my rice cooker with only On and Warm (you turn it On, then when it’s finished it automatically moves to Warm) and it boiled over, losing almost all the water. We tried removing the lid for some time, off & on, propping it, etc. In the end it tasted good, hello ginger & honey, but it was more like a mushy rice rather than porridge (not even rice pudding consistency). Will keep trying, maybe IP manual setting?, because we like the taste.


Smartify sol July 8, 2022 at 10:30 am

It is delicious. nice post , i am looking such this type content ,finally found this here..Thank you.


James Dean October 8, 2022 at 4:02 am

There’s a reason rice is one of the world’s most widely consumed foods. It’s versatile, inexpensive, and quick to create. However, just because preparing rice is a quick bid does not imply that it is simple to make exquisite rice. In fact, getting the rice precisely right may be a costly business due to the precise measurements, rates (water to rice), heat circumstances, and durations that must be considered. There are also numerous rice varieties, such as basmati and GABA rice. Some of them necessitate unique and frequently specific cooking techniques.

Could You do a review on that?


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