Thinly sliced daikon and carrot strip pickled in a sweet vinegar sauce, Namasu is a refreshing salad commonly served as a Japanese New Year’s dish. You’d love its bright and just slightly sharp flavor!
Namasu (紅白なます) is a daikon and carrot salad lightly pickled in sweetened vinegar. This dish was introduced to Japan from China around 700s (Nara period) and it is especially enjoyed during the New Year in Japan. Red and white are considered celebratory colors in Japan and these colors are often used in many traditional ceremonies.
Watch How to Make Namasu (Daikon & Carrot Salad) 紅白なますの作り方
Thinly sliced daikon and carrot strip pickled in a sweet vinegar sauce. Typically served as a Japanese New Years dish.
The Simplest Sweet Pickle for the New Year – Japanese Daikon & Carrot Salad
Namasu is extremely easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time. If you like lightly pickled salad, you will enjoy this dish as an appetizer or as a side to your main dishes. In Japan, this dish is also called Kohaku (red & white) Namasu. Besides daikon and carrot, you can also include cucumbers for another layer of color and crunch.
The key to this dish is to make sure to squeeze out all the liquid from the veggie, it creates optimal crunchiness. To pickle, you only need sugar, salt, water and rice vinegar.
In Japan, there are usually a few strips of yuzu zest added on top of the salad, but I had to leave it out since I couldn’t find fresh yuzu locally. Yuzu strips add amazing citrus fragrance to the dish. For those lucky ones who can access to fresh yuzu in your area, you’d definitely want to include it in this salad.
Crunchy, slightly sharp with a bright refreshing taste, Namasu (daikon and carrot salad) is also one of the first salads I’d make when root vegetables are in season. It goes very well with fish or any grilled meat. If you’re serving namasu for your Osechi Ryori (New Year’s food), don’t forget to check out the other popular dishes which I shared here.
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- 4 inch daikon radish (4" = 10 cm) (cut in half)
- 2 inch carrot (2" = 5 cm)
- 1 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
- 1-2 strips yuzu zest (optional)
- 1 ½ Tbsp sugar
- 1½ Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp water
- ¼ tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
Gather all the ingredients.
- Peel the daikon and carrot.
- Thinly slice the daikon and carrot lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slabs (3 mm thickness). Stack a few slabs at a time and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips.
- Put daikon and carrot julienned strips in a bowl and sprinkle salt. Give a gentle massage and set aside for 5-10 minutes
- Meanwhile combine all the ingredients for the seasonings in a small bowl and whisk well together.
- Squeeze water out of daikon and carrot and put in a new bowl.
- Pour the seasonings and mix well togther. Garnish with thin strips of yuzu and serve at room temperature or chilled.
The ratio of carrot to daikon should be 1 to 5.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.