Blackcabbit's World

Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.

Nanakusa Gayu – Porridge with the Goodness of Spring

January 7
Tonight, we had something different for dinner. For the first time, I ate the Nanakusa Gayu (七草粥 / Porridge with Seven Grasses or Herbs), which was a tradition that Japanese adopted from Ancient China. Usually, this dish is customarily eaten for breakfast on every January 7th, as a way of wishing a year of sound health.

In contrast to the sumptuous New Year feasting, the porridge may be a plain dish but it has a lot of benefits. According to my MIL, it helps to “clear our digestive systems” since we stuffed ourselves with too much New Year delicacies for the past few days. :P

七草がゆ
For convenience sake, almost every supermarkets sell these herbs all in a package.

Here are pictures of the seven plants of spring, and some of their benefits:
Daikon Raddish
Suzushiro (スズシロ / Daikon Raddish) – Reduce coughing, phlegm and sore throat.

七草がゆ
Suzuna (すずな/ Turnip) – Packed with vitamins, and good for our skin.

七草粥
Hakobera (ハコベラ/ Chickweed, Stitchwort) – Prevent Periodontitis.

ナズナ
Nazuna (ナズナ) – Reduces bloodshot eyes.

ホトケノザ
Hotokenoza (ホトケノザ / Japanese Nipplewort) – Has pain relief effects

セリ
Seri (セリ / Japanese Parsley) – Packed with vitamins.

ゴギョウ
Gogyo (ゴギョウ / Jersey Cudweed) – Has diuretic effects

Recipe (for 2 persons)

Cooking the Seven Herbs Porridge is actually pretty simple and plain.
1. Just add water to a bowl of rice (ratio 3:1) and boil for about 20 mins* on low heat.
2. Mince or cut the seven herbs into small pieces. Then, add into the porridge and cook for another 5-10 mins*.
3. Add salt to taste.
4. Optional: Add 2 pieces of baked Kirimochi (Rice-cake in rectangular shape)

(*Note: U may wish to adjust the cooking time according to your preference on porridge consistency.)

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This entry was posted on January 7, 2011 by in Food / Recipe, Life in Japan and tagged , .
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