Today is January 7th, and it is Nanakusa no Sekku (also called Jinjitsu) in Japan. It is the festival of seven herbs (water dropwort, shepherd’s purse, cudweed, chickweed, nipplewort, turnip and radish), and we eat seven herb porridge. It was celebrated on the 7th day of the first lunar month when originally the tradition came from China, but now it was moved to January 7th when Japan adopted the solar calender.
We eat seven herb porridge to hope good health and longevity for a new year, but for me it is also a good reminder to get back on track after eating so much foods during the holidays. I have to say though it is not anything that tasty. The meal is rather basic and simple, but I think it is a good way to rest your stomach.
In Japan you can find a special seven herbs package for the porridge at a supermarket, but in the US you can use any of the following vegetables and herbs to replace them. It tastes pretty close to what it is.
- Chinese celery
- radish green
- daikon radish green
- turnip green
- mustard green
- carrot green
- dandelion green
|Nanakusa Kayu (Seven Herb Porridge, 七草粥）|| |
- 1 cup medium or short grain rice
- A piece of kombu (optional)
- 7 cup water (or chicken stock (non traditional) if you want to add more flavor)
- ¼ lb combination of herbs
- Rinse the rice, and drain. Put the washed rice, a piece of kombu if you are using and 7 cups water in a heavy bottomed pan, and let it soak for 30 minutes.
- Place the pan over medium high heat, and bring it to a boil. Remove and discard (or save for some other use) the kombu when bubbles start to appear right before begins to boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and continue to cook the rice, stirring occasionally, until the rice is creamy.
- While the rice is cooking, blanch herbs in boiling water, drain and rinse under cold running water. Chop them up.
- When the rice is done, add the herbs to the pan, stir, and cook for another minutes to warm up the herbs. Season with salt and serve immediately.