Add ¼ cup (50 g) short-grain rice in a bowl and rinse under running water while gently rubbing the rice with hands. Repeat until the water runs clear and drain.
Put the rice back in a donabe (I used a small Japanese earthenware pot) or a heavy-bottomed pot, add 250 ml of water, and cover with a lid. Soak the rice for at least 30 minutes. Tip: With the heavy-bottomed pot like a donabe, the heat is distributed not as strongly/directly as a regular pot, so you can cook rice evenly.
Bring the rice to a boil over medium-high heat. You can open the lid to check during this time.
As soon as it's boiling, gently mix with the spoon once, making sure the rice is not stuck to the bottom of the pot. Then lower the heat to the stove’s lowest heat setting (make sure to use the right size of stove burner for your pot size), cover the lid, and simmer the rice for 25-30 minutes. During this time, don't open the lid or mix the rice (See Note).
After 25-30 minutes, turn off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to let it steam. The rice should be soft and thickened.
To Make Nanakusa Gayu
Add nanakusa (fresh or freeze-dried) and mix gently. Sprinkle salt to taste. Enjoy!
Use of Fresh Nanakusa: Blanch in boiling water (with a pinch of salt) for a few seconds and let cool in iced water to stop cooking. Drain and squeeze water out. Cut into small pieces. If you cook daikon and kabu, cut into thin slices and blanch till tender and let cool. Then blanch herbs in the same pot.Use of Freeze-Dry Nanakusa: Read instructions on how much freeze-dried nanakusa you will need for each serving.Cooking Instructions: I follow 1 to 5 rice-to-water ratio for my Okayu recipe. With a good size pot, and the lowest heat on the stove, water should not boil over. If you cook with more water or your pot is smaller than my pot, you may want to cover the lid at a slight angle so the water doesn’t boil over. If unsure, you can quickly peek and make sure there’s enough water so the rice doesn’t burn the bottom of the pot. You can stir the pot or add “hot” water if needed. Otherwise, don’t touch the rice because you would end up breaking the nice shape of rice kernels.Rice-Water Ratio: Zen-gayu – 1 : 5 (50 grams : 250 ml) Shichibu-gayu – 1 : 7 (50 grams : 350 ml) Gobu-gayu – 1 :10 (50 grams : 500 ml) Sanbu-gayu – 1 : 20 (25 grams : 500 ml)Using Cooked Rice: Add rice and 2-3 times water in the pot. Cook stirring over medium-low heat. Adjust the consistency by adding more water.