Don’t throw carrots’ leaves!


I wanted to purchase daikon radish, but I reached carrots instead because daikon didn’t have leaves and carrots did.  I wanted leaves.


We Japanese have a tradition to have NANAKUSA GAYU,  porridge with Japanese seven herbs on the 7th of January.

After the Thanksgiving, would you like to continue eating rich meals?  I am sure that lots of people are tired of turkey and gravy, and go to Asian restaurants to find something different . (I would say something differnt, not “something light”.)

The New Year holidays are relatively long holidays for us, and after the hard work of the previous year, everybody want to feel relaxed, just staying at home with family and eating,,eating,,,eating,,,,AND,,,,,EATING!!!

YES, it it time for the stomach to feel relaxed next!

That is one of the reason to have porridge on the 7th.

However originally this custom was brought from China in the Edo period, and its original intention is to protect ourselves from evils and invite good luck and longevity by eating the seven herbs that endure the cold weather.

Even though I have been living here for more than 15years, I want to follow each Japanese events in each season.

Every year I try to make seven herbs porridge, but of course, it is hard to find seven of them.

Sometime I only find one, and make one herb porridge, which I couldn’t call NANAKUSA GAYU.  (“NANA” means seven in Japanese.)

What is NANAKUSA then?

I was taught them when I was in the elementary school, so I could utter like incantation.


Probably this sounds like true incantation to you.

They are water dropwort ( seri ), sheperd’s purse (nazuna), cudweed (gogyo), chickweed (hakobera), henbit (hotokenoza), turnip (suzuna), and daikon radish (suzushiro) in English.

Are they familiar to you?  I have to ask somebody.



I gave up finding all these unfamiliar herbs here from the beginning this year, and tried to collect any seven greens this year.  This is American version of NANAKUSA GAYU!

What I got were,,

as an opposite clockwise, carrots’ leaves, wild arugula, kale, baby spinach, arugula (rocket), shungiku (crown daisy), and chard.

What do you think?

Then the porridge turned out to be so GREEN!


We all including my lovely dogs enjoyed this, wishing our health all year long.

Happy Ending!


it wasn’t END!


I had tons of greens in my fridge.  I had to use them before they went bad.


Then ,,,




I made TOFU SAAG with spinach and kale!






it wasn’t END yet!


Carrots’ leaves were dominating my fridge!

Then I decided to make THAT.

I will cook all of them!

Today I will introduce my way to use carrots’ leaves in Japanese style.


They were so fresh and beautiful.  I wonder for what you would use carrots’ leaves.

Smoothies?  Pesto? Garnishing?

OK, let’s show how I use them.   So simple and so easy.



Here are the ingredients besides a bunch of carrots’ leaves for this side dish.

(you can adjust the quantities of each ingredients depending on your favor.)

  • 2 teaspoons of sake
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons of mirin
  • white sesame seeds
  • bonito flakes
  • sesame oil

First cut the carrots’ leaves.

I don’t want to throw even the harsh stalks because they look so  good for the health.

When I cut them, they were so fresh that they danced out from the cutting board!!

Heat a pan with a little oil, and saute the leaves, the stalks first.

When they wilt,


add sake and sugar.

Remember? Always the sweetness first!

Then add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. (Use the left 1 teaspoon of soy sauce at the end.)

Add a little bit of water and close the lid for them to get tender.

After a few minutes, take off the lid and,,,,


add 2 teaspoons of mirin and the remaining soy sauce.

Add sesame oil from the side of the pan, and stir.

Stir well and add bonito flakes and sesame seeds.

Saute them until most of the liquid evaporates.


That’s all!



You could keep this in the fridge for a few days.

This goes well with white rice, and also you could cook with beaten eggs.

I put some in my husband’s OBENTO as well.




Would you throw carrots’ leaves?

I hope you say NO!


3 thoughts on “Don’t throw carrots’ leaves!

  1. thank you! very interesting article on Japanese culture and a creative use of what is available to you here in the states. Have been reading through your posts and I love the lessons you are giving us.


  2. Thank you very much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! I am very glad to know that you enjoyed the article. I used to try to find JAPANESE foods and vegetable here, but I realized I didn’t need to do that. I want to enjoy fresh vegetables in my Japanese way!


  3. Pingback: how to make KAKIAGE (Tempura) | Japanese Kitchen in the USA

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