7 Spring Herb Porridge with Crab



Nanakusa, the seven spring herbs, are a traditional Japanese medicinal meal. On January 7th, people eat rice porridge flavored with the first bitter wild greens of spring. It's refreshing and delicious (plus it's supposed to strengthen the immune system and prevent colds) so I try to remember to do this. It is hard to miss, since all the grocery stores sell packages of nankusa around this time.

The herbs are mainly all weeds: purslane/shepherd's purse, chickweed, dropwort, nipplewort, cudweed, plus turnip (root and tops), and daikon (root and tops). They are the first things to peek out green in the early spring.

This year, I went a little bit upscale and added some crab and other seasonings. It turned out so well, I'd like to share the recipe (and to not forget it for next year). If you're outside Japan, the nankusa herbs may be difficult to find, but feel free to substitute whatever edible wild herbs grow at hand.

7 Spring Herb Porridge with Crab
serves 2-4

2 cups sprouted brown rice
7 cups water
1 small turnip, cubed
2" daikon, cubed (or 2-3 radishes)
1/4 carrot, minced
1 cup wild herbs, chopped fine
1 tsp yuzu kosho (citrus chili paste)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup crab (real or imitation)
1" ginger, shredded

Boil the rice (or use a pressure cooker) until it is soft. Add the turnip, daikon & carrot and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and stirr in the herbs and seasonings. Serve topped with crab and ginger.


Oh this looks yum!!

Where can you buy the yuzu kosho? Any regular supermarket? Chilli and Yuzu are two of my fave flavours.

I read somewhere else that henbit was one of the nanakusa...and passed the story along. Now the link to my original information is gone. It's up and blooming in my garden now...definitely one of the first greens of the year.

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  • mss @ nipponDAZE: I read somewhere else that henbit was one of the read more
  • T: Oh this looks yum!! Where can you buy the yuzu read more