January 7th 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 to hope good health and longevity for a new year. It is also a good reminder to get back on track after eating so much foods during the holidays. 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. Feel free to replace water with chicken stock although it is not traditional, or add some soy sauce at the end. —Essence of Japan
What You'll Need
medium or short grain rice
water (or chicken stock (non traditional) if you want to add more flavor)
any seven combination of the following herbs; watercress, Chinese celery, radish green, daikon radish green, turnip green, mustard green, carrot green, arugula, chicory, radicchio, endive, syungiku, mizuna, dandelion green
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.