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Grandma's Kitchen:   Asian New Year's Recipes


After over-indulging in rice cakes and sake, the digestion deserves a rest. This appears to be the origin of the custom of eating rice gruel in which are mixed many kinds of vegetables on the seventh day of the new year. Apart from the idea that the vegetables are the harbingers of the eagerly awaited spring, this dish also gives us a chance to savor the gentle flavor of each kind of vegetable.

Seven Vegetable Rice Gruel

Ingredients (to serve 4)

  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 bunches watercress
  • 2-3 spring onions
  • 1 pack mustard cress
  • 15 cms. dried tangle
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons salt


  1. Wash rice well and allow to drain.
  2. Wash the watercress and mustard cress and cut into 1 cm. long pieces.
  3. Wash and chop up the spring onions.
  4. Using a thick saucepan, place the washed tangle in the bottom, cover with the rice and pour in the water and seasoning.
  5. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the rice is soft and has the consistency of porridge.
  6. Mix in the chopped vegetables before serving.
Sources:   Japanese Festival and Calendar Lore by William Hugh Erskine. Tokyo: Kyo Bun Kwan, 1933, pp. 29-30. A Taste of Japan, edited by Itsuko Hamada. Japan Air Lines Co., Ltd., 1986, p. 89.

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