Chagayu (大和の茶がゆ) is rice cooked in green tea — as opposed to ochazuke (お茶漬け), which is green tea poured over cooked rice. It’s something you serve sick folks, or eat as a post holiday way to help your stomach recover from recent excesses. Well, you know my philosophy: if a starch can be prepared this way, then oatmeal can be also. Of course it doesn’t have to be green tea — there’s a whole rainbow of colors out there.

I’ve tried two recipes so far, one with English Breakfast Tea, and one with Lapsang Souchong, a tarry/smokey tea that MJ says smells like the bacon is burning. For this set of experiments, I steeped loose tea for four minutes, strained it into a pot, brought it to just under a boil (steaming, but no bubbles), and added some 5min oatmeal, potato, sugar, and salt. The EB tea I tried straight. The LS tea I put bacon bits into (MJ is never wrong).

Results. Well, both of them tasted almost like eating leftover tea leaveWait! Don’t go away!! The key word is almost. What makes eating tea leaves so bad isn’t the flavor, it’s the tea leaves themselves. They don’t really chew well, and they get stuck all over your mouth. Don’t believe me? Go try it. I’ll wait.


The oatmeal, of course, was nothing like that, so a major downside was averted. Or everted. Or something.

The EB tea was overly bland and tealeaf like. I am sure that part of that is the lack of toppings, but part is the lack of flavor in the tea. Evidently, one needs something robust to stand up to the oaty blandness. The LS tea, on the other hand, just about worked. I’m not sure what else it needs (milk? lemon? Something that goes with tea, like ground crumpets, or minced cucumber sandwiches?), but it’s just one flavor enhancer away from being pretty OK.

In any event, if your post holiday resolutions include swearing off eating because the two of you ate the whole turkey and she can no longer get into her old maternity dresses, this is enough different from food that you should consider it for breakfast or lunch.

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