Nanakusa no Seku(七草の節句): Herbal rice porridge

New year celebrations of Japan lasts until January 7. Among them, the seventh day of January is the day to consume the herbal rice porridge. It is called Nanakusa no Seku which means porridge of seven herbs.

Photo by Takashi M on Flickr

As all the first days of a New year will be days of grant dishes for most of the Japanese families, this herbal porridge of Jan 7th is really eaten for soothing the stomachs. It will be either consumed as the breakfast of January 7th or as dinner for January 6th. The seven special herbs that are included in this rice porridge differ in various places. We can see the set of Seven herbs being sold at the supermarkets during this time.

The common ingredients of this medicinal rice porridge are:

  1. Suzushiro: Radish(Daikon)
  2. Suzuna: Turnip(Kabu)
  3. Hotokenaoza: Nipplewort
  4. Gogyou: Cudweed
  5. Nazuna: shepherd’s purse
  6. Seri: Parsely
  7. Hakobera: Chickweed

    Photo by Koji Haruna on Flickr

Even though this herbal rice soup is said to be consumed to sooth the tired stomach of New year, it could be consumed at other times too. As all the herbs included in it are packed with minerals and vitamins, it will surely be provided with some kind of nutrition. In cities, it will be difficult to collect all these herbs nowadays but could be bought from the market easily.

Photo by David Pursehouse on Flickr

It is an easy dish that anyone could try anytime. Boil the rice and make the rice porridge as usual. Meanwhile, wash and cut the seven herbs into small pieces and add it to the cooked porridge. Cook it for some more time and the Nanakusa no Gayu is ready to be served seasoned with salt. It is a very healthy food, especially during the winter season.