Kitchen Culture

tasty tidbits from the old-fashioned Japanese Kitchen

Nana Kusa-Gayu


Rice Porridge with Seven Herbs


なずな nazuna

御形 gogyō

はこべら hakobera

仏の座 hotoké no za

すずな suzuna turnip

すずしろ suzushiro daikon

More than a thousand years ago, the Japanese spoke of watari-dori ("migrating birds") coming from the Asian mainland in wintertime bringing with them unwanted viruses – early evidence of avian flu epidemics! Eating nutritious nana (seven) kusa (grasses) gayu (porridge) on the 7th day of the New Year was believed to strengthen resistance to infection and colds.

Indeed the seven grasses, or herbs, traditionally cooked into rice gruel are vitamin and mineral rich leafy herbs and flowering greens. The classic Japanese spring herbs haru no nana kusa are listed left to right in the illustration, and top to bottom in the text to the left.

Making your own Rice Porridge