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