Lapas – Greek boiled rice porridge

Lapas is the name for Greek boiled rice porridge which is often served when someone is sick. It is made very simply by boiling round grain rice, (rizi glassé or glace in Greek) in salted water until you get a creamy, thick consistency. If you like you can add some olive oil and fresh lemon juice before serving.

Lapas - Greek boiled rice porridge

There are many ways to take care of someone who is feeling under the weather. The flu, complete with aches and pains? How about some chicken noodle soup or the classic Greek avgolemono soup! A sore throat and a nagging cough? Let me offer you a cup of Greek mountain tea, or a hot toddy right before bed! Feeling sad, anxious and in need of a hug? Here is some love in a bowl (cream of tomato soup) and some cheese (grilled cheese sandwich)…because cheese makes everything better! All of these are great kitchen remedies, but if you have tummy troubles, what you need is lapas (pronounced lah-pàhs), the classic recipe for Greek boiled rice.

Lapas - Greek boiled rice porridge

Why this recipe is great

Lapas is the traditional Greek comfort food that my mother made for us when we were ill. Any stomach ache called for a bowl of this creamy cooked rice. There is a reason why, as kids, my siblings and I referred to this as diarrhea rice!

It is a well known fact that an upset stomach needs food which is well tolerated, and white rice usually is. The reason is because white rice is low in fiber, and it allows the bowels to form as opposed to promoting bowel movements; definitely not something you want to encourage when you are already having diarrhea. Too much information? Sorry, but I am a nurse and I know that even uncomfortable topics are important (remember when I taught you about beeturia?)

Back to the recipe however, the proportion of ingredients listed is going to give you a perfect rice porridge. It is simple and quick to make, soothing to eat, and satisfying when you aren’t too hungry, but need to get some nutrients in.

Lapas - Greek boiled rice porridge

Ingredients

Medium grain white rice, or round grain rice (Glase or glace rice). This is a glutinous rice that gives you a creamy, porridge like result. Glutinous rice has a tendency to stick and clump together, so be sure to stir regularly during cooking.

Water Plain tap water works well here.

Salt A bit of salt in the water adds flavour and electrolytes.

Olive oil I always use Greek olive oil for its depth of flavour – a little goes a long way.

Lemon juice Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds brightness to the rice.

Lapas - Greek boiled rice porridge

Recipe substitutions

If you cannot find glace rice or round grain rice you can use arborio rice. It will not be exactly the same, but a good alternative.

How to make it

Step 1
Bring water to a boil and add the salt.

Step 2
When the water comes to a boil, add the rice and reduce the heat to medium. Cook over medium heat (uncovered) until the rice is cooked through and is almost mushy. Stir regularly to prevent sticking.

Step 3
When most of the water has evaporated and the rice is soft and cooked through, add the olive oil and lemon juice if using. Mix to combine and serve in shallow bowls.

Cooking tips and helpful hints

Glutinous rice is sticky so it has a tendency to stick and clump together when cooking. Be sure to add enough liquid (follow the recipe, but add additional water if your lapas is too thick). Stir your rice often during cooking, and make sure to keep the heat on medium.

If you need to reheat your rice and find that it has thickened too much while cooling, simply add a little more water.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use any variety of white rice to make this recipe?

The key to making lapas is using a glutinous rice which becomes sticky and mushy when it is boiled in water. For this reason, using a regular long grain rice will not produce the same type of result. In Greece there is a rice called glace (or glassé) which is used for making lapas. An alternative is any round grain rice, or arborio rice could also be a good alternative.

Can I add other seasonings or flavour?

Traditionally lapas is made for times when you are feeling under the weather, particularly with stomach problems. For this reason, it is relatively bland and plain. Having said that, if you are making this recipe simply because you feel like a comforting bowl of rice, and you want to amp up the flavour – go ahead! You can add pepper, chopped parsley, or anything else you like. Below I describe how you can make lapas using veggie or chicken broth.

Lapas - Greek boiled rice porridge

Recipe variations

You can make lapas with vegetable or chicken broth for added flavour. If you do, simply replace the water with the broth and follow the recipe as described.

Storing and reheating

Lapas is best eaten as soon as it is taken off the heat. However, you can certainly make it ahead of time, and store leftovers in the refrigerator. To reheat, you can either do so in the microwave (times will vary depending on the power of your appliance. Otherwise, you can reheat your boiled rice in a pot on the stovetop.

During reheating, you may need to add a little more water if your rice has gotten too thick.

If you are looking for more recipes with rice, these are some great ideas:

Greek cabbage rolls with zucchini and rice

Greek lemon rice

Rice with fide (Ρύζι με φιδέ)

Greek cabbage rolls (lahanodolmades) with zucchini and rice
Traditional Greek rice flavoured with lemon
Rice with fide

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Lapas - Greek boiled rice porridge
Lapas - Greek boiled rice porridge

Lapas - Greek boiled rice

Lapas is the Greek recipe for boiled rice, perfect for when you are sick
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Light meal, Lunch
Cuisine: Greek
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 378kcal
Author: Billie Bitzas

Equipment

  • 1 medium pot

Ingredients

  • ½ cup round grain rice, or sticky, medium grain glutinous rice called glassé (or glace) in Greek (ρύζι γλασέ)
  • cup water
  • ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil, optional
  • fresh squeeze lemon juice, optional

Instructions

  • Bring water to a boil. Add salt.
    2½ cup water, ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
  • When water comes to a boil, add the rice and reduce heat to medium. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, until the rice is cooked through and is almost mushy. Stir regularly to prevent sticking.
    ½ cup round grain rice, or sticky, medium grain glutinous rice
  • When most of the water has evaporated and the rice is soft and cooked through, add the olive oil and lemon juice if using. Mix to combine and serve in shallow bowls.
    1 tsp olive oil, optional, fresh squeeze lemon juice, optional

Notes

Nutrition facts include the optional addition of olive oil.

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg

Thanks for sharing!

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