On the 7th of January some people in Japan eat 七草粥 (nana kusa gayu).
According to the back of this packet, this tradition has been around since the Kamakura-period.
The idea is that because everyone eats and drinks a lot over the New Year – it’s good to eat something simple to give your stomach a rest.
Nana means seven. Kusa means grass, weed or herb and okayu is a kind of rice porridge.
Back in the day people used to gather up any herbs that were growing nearby to put in nanakusagayu. But now you can buy packets at the supermarket.
These are the seven herbs:
すずな (suzuna) turnip
せり (seri) dropwort, Japanese parsley
なずな (nazuna) shepherd’s purse
ござよう (gozayo) cudweed
はこべら (hakobera) chickweed
ほとけのざ (hotokenoza) nipplewort henbit, a bee nettle
すずしろ (suzushiro) a radish
Nanakusagayu is easy to make. You just cut the herbs up and cook them with rice.
I don’t think you’re really supposed to add soy sauce because the point is for it to be plain. But I did. Don’t tell anyone.