Happy New Year! I cant believe it’s 2016 already. It’s the time of year when everyone decides their life style and eating habits are going to change for the better! Allow me to help…
I know the festive season began at Christmas for most people, but this is probably the most festive time for the Japanese as the New Year is celebrated over three days. For three days the country is at a stand still, no one is working, instead just eating and drinking to their heart’s content. A little like Christmas here! So the third day is the climax and our New Year. Naturally everyone is feeling sluggish and a little guilty for over indulging, so as per tradition we start our detox treatment on the third day with a dish called Nana Kusa Gayu. It is definitely a must to eat on the seventh of January. It’s a type of rice porridge with seven health, beneficial vegetables and herbs that act as medicine targeting the immune system to wish you good health for the New Year. And it works! These seven ingredients are very oriental which makes it difficult to find here in London, so in true Yuki style I have made my very own local version in an attempt to start our year with a great detox, it’s called Kusa Gayu.
So in my version I will be using, watercress, which is bursting with vitamins and minerals. The next of the seven is chives; there have been studies that show chives are helpful to strengthen bones. Next is a my favourite, coriander, well known to be beneficial for improving the memory. To help your vision and eye health I have added in cress, this Kusa Gayu is really starting to sound like a weekend at the health spa in a bowl! Turnip is my next super food adding in a good source of potassium and magnesium. Another Japanese favourite is parsley, which packs in many vitamins to help keep your immune system strong and flush out any excess fluid from the body. Lastly the Japanese radish daikon has a lot of heath benefits that target different areas around the body including assisting in clearing chesty coughs. This is super food heaven, the best way to start your year by helping your body detox from all of that alcohol and heavy food.
To make Japanese rice porridge tasty and not just like you are eating a bowl of green leaves, I use a fish or chicken stock which adds a gentle flavour and will not subtract from all of the goodness from the vegetables and herbs. As a tip, I use brown rice, it’s great for you and will not leave you feeling sluggish.
Start your 2016 with a natural cleanse!
Nana Kusa Gayu Vegetable Rice Porridge
1 cup Japanese rice
5 cups water
5cm Dried Kombu/kelp
1 handful of Spinach leaves
1 small Turnip
5cm Daikon /Mooli
1 handful of Water cress
1 bunch of chives
1/2 handful of Coriander
1/2 handful of Parsley
1tsp Sea salt
To make the Kombu stock, wipe the Kombu with a clean cloth. (*the Kombu shouldn’t be washed.)
Put the water in a deep pot and soak the Kombu for about 30 minutes.
Heat it up slowly bringing the water to a boil, take out the Kombu and remove the stock from the heat.
Wash the rice thoroughly in a sieve for no less than 2 minutes , constantly turning the rice over until the water turns clear. Drain the rice and transfer it to the bowl and cover with plenty water. Let it stand for 30 minutes in the water. If you do not have time you can cook it immediately.
Peel and dice the daikon and turnip into 1cm x 1cm cubes. Cut the water cress, parsley and coriander roughly. Chop the chives finely.
Drain the rice, daikon and turnip and add them into the stock and start cooking. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Cook for another 15 minutes, Then Add the water cress, parsley coriander and spinach, bring back to the boil and add salt.
Serve in a bowl and add the chives to top the dish.