January 7th is “Seven-herb Seasonal Festival” (nanakusa no sekku) in Japan. There are five seasonal festivals in a year (March 3rd, May 5th, July 7th, and September 9th), and the “Seven-herb” is the first one.
Every seasonal festival has specific dishes. On the Seven-herb festival, we eat seven-herbs mixed in steamy hot rice soup.
It is said that eating 7-herb rice soup wards off evil and lets us maintain sound health. It is also to give some rest to our digestive system tired from over-eating and drinking during the New Year’s festivals, which makes sense.
Here’s the list of Japanese seven herbs:
* Seri (water dropwort)
* Nazuna (Shepherd’s Purse)
* Gogyo (cutweed)
* Hakobera (chickweed)
* Hotokenoza (nipplewort)
* Suzuna (turnip)
* Suzushiro (radish).
I used the following wild plants in our yard:
I then added the following that I had in the fridge, and I got the 7 herbs/greens:
All you need to do is to make rice soup (which is easier than preparing steamed white rice) and chop the greens. It is a no-hussle, light and refreshing dish. Great for detox. It's good on any other days, not just the 7th of January.
You don’t need to have 7 kinds of herbs. Just use whatever you have on hand.
The key to non-gooey rice soup is to cook it with very low heat and never stir while cooking. Sirring makes the soup dense and ‘gluey.’ —Kyoko Ide
herbs/greens, finely chopped
In This Recipe
Wash rice. Put it in the pot with water. After 15 minutes of rest, add salt, and turn on the heat to medium high.
When it boils, stir just once with a spoon, turn down the heat to as low as possible, cover halfway, and cook for 20 minutes.