Warm foods like chicken soup and vitamin-rich foods like oranges help Westerners clear up their sinuses and build their immunities. When ill in Japan, there are a few cultural comfort foods to which many people turn, much like chicken soup in the West. Whether you want to do as the Japanese do should you fall ill in Japan or your love for Japanese food will give you comfort during an illness, try Japanese comfort foods. (These foods are for colds and other mild illnesses. If something more serious is wrong, seek medical attention.)
Kayu: Also known as okayu, kayu is a warm rice porridge. Since rice is such a staple of the typical Japanese diet, it’s not surprising that rice porridge is more popular than oatmeal, although the concept behind enjoying a warm, easy-to-digest porridge is much the same. You can enjoy kayu on its own or with cooked meat, steamed vegetables, or with cooked or raw egg. Add tea and you have chakayu. Making kayu is as simple as boiling rice and water with a touch of salt until the rice is mushy.
Negi miso: Green onions called negi are another antidote for feeling under the weather in Japan. Vitamin-rich negi can be steamed or enjoyed raw. One particular dish made for the ill with negi as a main ingredient is negi miso. Miso is a Japanese flavoring often used in soup. While you can add chopped negi to a miso soup to make a version of negi miso, the most easily digestible form of the dish for the ill is a negi miso drink. Just boil water with miso flavoring and add chopped negi.
Shogayu: Another hot drink for the ill in Japan is shogayu. Shoga, Japanese ginger, is thought to provide many health benefits, including upset stomach relief and a boost in immunity. Shogayu is a simple drink to make; add a pinch of grated shoga and a dash of sugar to a mug and then add hot water.
Fruit: A common gift in Japan for an ill person is fresh fruit. You may notice in Japanese TV shows that a friend or family member attending the bedside of a person in the hospital will peel an apple for the patient to eat.
Do any of these dishes sound appetizing to you? Do you think they make good meals when you’re ill?
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Tags: Food, health, illness, japan, kayu, Rice