I took part in a chagayu get-together hosted by Ms Takemura from a tea shop “Takemura Gyokusuien” in Kyoto.
Chagayu, literally means tea rice porridge, is unsweetened and savory rice porridge cooked in tea. Rice porridge (called kayu or o-kayu) cooked in seasoned water is very common throughout the country, but chagayu is not. It’s customarily eaten in some areas including Nara, Wakayama and the southern part of Kyoto, not in the Kyoto city.
At the event, three different types of porridge cooked in three different teas including Sencha, Hojicha and very very smoky flavored Bancha were prepared. The nice aroma of teas were coming out while the teas in a bag were being boiled, which made me hungry.
Once tea is ready, put some rice into a pan and boil until ready. Put a lid on and wait for another several minutes. And then, here we are!
*Sencha one (on the left) : It tastes very refreshing.
*Hojicha one (on the right) : The toasty aroma is wonderful!
*Bancha one (on the top) : It's cooked with sweet potatoes: Very very very smoky aroma of the tea, which I love, is really good with the potatoes. It’s bit stickier than the others because of, I think, the potatoes.
Some other dishes accompanied by the porridge were also tasty. They were all made by Ms Takemura. She is really good cook!
It is said that it's been more than 1200 years since people, mainly the Buddhist monks in Nara, started to eat chagayu. It is a simple dish, but I think chagayu is more than just that especially for people in some areas.
*Web: Takemura-Gyokusuien (in Japanese) http://www.gyokusuien.com/index.html
They don't serve the porridge at the shop, but they have a great selection of teas.