Japanese Grandma’s Remedies
December is called “shiwasu (師走)” in old Japanese language. It is written with characters for “master, priest” and “to run” and means December is so hectic that even priests start running to pray. So everyone is busy in December and it is ironic that you catch a cold or feel sick on such an occasion when you least want to. Today, we would like to introduce a few Japanese grandma’s remedies to you.
Daiichi Daikon-tou (First Daikon Radish Hot Water)
Photo: Discovery Japan
This drink is effective for fever from cold, coughing, sore throat or joint pain. Also it is good when you have a hangover, stomachache and you feel fatigue.
The recipe is very simple:
3 tablespoons of grated daikon radish
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Mix them with 2 cups (approx. 400 mL) of hot bancha or hot water. Bancha is harvested from the second flush of Japanese green tea between summer and autumn. You do not have to be meticulous about the amount, eyeballing them is fine. Sannen bancha (3 year old bancha) is most recommended for this drink but in case you cannot get it, hoji tea (roasted green tea) or just hot water is ok. Green tea is not good since the amount of caffeine in it is high. Drink it while it is hot. It is also good to put umeboshi (pickled ume fruits) in it.
Daikon radish decomposes and removes meat and fish toxins from your body, ginger has an anti-inflammatory effect and soy sauce promotes blood circulation. And umeboshi keeps your body warm and makes healthy blood.
Drink all of this drink when you have a fever. You will sweat soon. Drink half of it when you have other symptoms as drinking too much is not good. Please do not drink if you are weak, have a heart disease, a rib pain or tuberculosis. Even if you are strong, it is not good to drink it more than three times in a row.
Chabushi (Tea and Bonito Flakes)
Chabushi is a local dish from the south of Kagoshima prefecture. They have been having it when they have a hangover or they want to recover from fatigue.
1 table spoon of miso (Originally barley miso was used but ordinary miso is ok.)
100 to 150 mL of green tea
A handful of bonito flakes
(Put spring onion, ginger or an egg if you like.)
How to Make:
1. Put 1 tablespoon of miso and a handful of bonito flakes in a mug.
2. Pour and stir hot green tea in a mug and leave it for a second before you drink the soup. This allows bonito flakes to enrich the chabushi.
You can get these ingredients at Asian grocery stores. Try these simple recipes when you do not feel well next time.