Okayu saves the day…

I have a sensitive stomach. I think we all know that. When I am hurt or upset, my stomach is usually the first thing that tells me I’m not okay. I had a crappy week this week and although my mind is well aware that I’m fine, my appetite and stomach simply refuse to catch up! Why oh why? The problem is, I am hungry but no food sounds good. It’s like in Elementary School or High School, I knew that I had to eat breakfast or I’d feel sick later, so I’d find 1 thing that sounded at all appetizing and then eat that for days, months, or even years on end (think ham sandwich on white for all of 2nd grade). Plus the past couple of days I couldn’t decide if I was angry, sad, scared, or just annoyed- all of which combined make for an awesome stomach! I think more than anything, when things are confusing and just don’t make sense or our minds won’t shut off, or we psych ourselves out for whatever reason, our bodies do fascinating things. Or is that just me?

At work on Thursday, nothing sounded good so I went for sushi with my buddy Chase. Didn’t taste good. He took me for a motorcycle ride for my lunch hour, and I felt great! But the appetite didn’t come back. My 5 year old niece telling me I am “very attractive” definitely worked, but I still couldn’t eat those darn pork chops for dinner. Last night (Friday) I went out for a dinner and a late night swim that had been planned for ages, and I took a Spanish Tortilla for the road. I’d been looking forward to that dinner for a week or so already. It tasted great last night. But today? Nope.

I know me, I know I have to make myself eat something, so yesterday I made Okayu. In Japan, this is the rice porridge I ate so often. Don’t quote me, but this is the same or similar to other porridges in Asia often called Congee. My brother force-fed me Bor Bor (as it’s called in Khmer) in Cambodia a few years ago when I was recovering from an illness. One night at a guest house in the jungle, the owner brought a bowl of it for me with a duck egg on top. I couldn’t eat the egg, but my brother did. I forced myself to eat the Bor Bor and by morning? I was ready for the motorcycle ride of a lifetime and a waterfall hike that nearly killed us both. I digress.

Point is, rice porridge makes everything better. The most basic version is rice, water, and green onions. I needed more protein, so I made mine with chicken broth and water and threw some HEB yogurt cheese in there (my Japanese friends may be flinching right now). I ate just a few bites yesterday, went for a run and took my dog for a swim, and I must say I felt better already. Today, woke up for a kickboxing class, and came home to finish off the Okayu. Now? I’d say I’m just about ready for a bbq and a night of dancing. Blue Hole was in the cards for today, but more friends can go next week. So a full Saturday at Blue Hole in Wimberley, here we come. Okayu saves the day again!

Okayu
1/2 cup rice
3 cups of water, broth, or combination
sesame seeds
chopped green onion
salt
If you can or want more, add chicken or tofu and a bit of ginger or umeboshi

Rinse the rice and put in a pot with the water/broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, covered, until tender, and stir a few times. Add the other items and salt to taste.
See? Easy, delicious and insanely cheap.

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About Salts Kitchen

I write. I eat. And I cook. I write about what I cook and eat. I love finding new foods, being inspired to make something I've never made, and most of all I love feeding other people things that they have never tried before. I like disproving myths about food and what it means to eat well, to eat healthy, often on a budget, and for some of us- to eat with a bunch of food allergies (and still eat well!).
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One Response to Okayu saves the day…

  1. Ralph Saltsman says:

    I never before heard about a death-defying waterfall hike. Let’s read more about that.
    And rice? It’s got to be about the best stomach healer ever. Glad for the happy ending in this blog.

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