Okayu (Japanese breakfast rice porridge as shown by Watame and Masae)


Breakfast time in Japanese hotels is the most wonderful experience. I discovered this in Sapporo when Shigeru invited us in 2006. And again in 2016 and so on. It is one of those times when I go to the Japanese buffet section and Kevan to the European section - even if we have to eat separately!! What you get is a huge variety of exotic, mysterious, incomprehensible things, many of them involving various types of seaweed or pickles or beautifully sliced vegetables and concoctions with beautiful colours. There is a huge vat of rice porridge, which you serve yourself in a bowl and then dot the white sticky surface with bits of this and that. Totally drool worthy. It asn't until 2017, when Shozo Michikawa came and stayed here, that his wife Masai and daughter Watame taught me how to actually make it.

1 cup sticky rice (could use the Thai sticky rice or pudding rice)

5 cups cold water

Few dried mushrooms, soaked in a little water for half an hour

Sticky seaweed, soaked in a little water for half an hour


Soak the dried mushrooms in water. Soak the rice in the water for a bit (at least half an hour) and then put on the fire. Add the water from the mushrooms, add the seaweed and the salt. Bring to the boil, reduce fire, keep stirring. After ten minutes or so, add the mushrooms and more sticky seaweed. Keep stirring, altogether maybe half an hour.

Serve in little bowls, and arrange a number of bowls of Japanese pickles or chopped chilli, or chilli oil or chopped cucumbers, finely sliced spring onions, or chopped any veg, so people can serve the rice then put little bits of the other things on top, looks lovely as well. Put a little jug of soya sauce which can be added in small drops if needed.