Namasu (Daikon and Carrot Salad) 紅白なます

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  • Julienned daikon and carrot pickled in a sweet vinegar sauce, Namasu is a refreshing salad commonly served as a Japanese New Year’s dish. You’d love this bright and just slightly sharp flavor! 

    A black bowl containing Namasu (Japanese Daikon and Carrot Salad).

    Namasu (紅白なます) is daikon and carrot salad lightly pickled in sweetened vinegar. Crunchy, slightly sharp with a bright refreshing taste, Namasu can be enjoyed all year round.

    What is Namasu?

    Namasu (なます) is daikon and carrot salad lightly pickled in sweetened vinegar. It’s also called Kohaku (red and white) Namasu (紅白なます). It was first introduced to Japan from China around the 700s (Nara period).

    Red and white are considered celebratory colors in Japan and these colors are often used in many traditional ceremonies. Namasu has been especially enjoyed during the New Year in Japan and you can find this dish in Osechi Ryori (Japanese New Year foods).

    Watch How to Make Namasu (Daikon & Carrot Salad)

    Julienned daikon and carrot pickled in a sweet vinegar sauce, Namasu is a refreshing salad commonly served as a Japanese New Year’s dish. You’d love this bright and just slightly sharp flavor! 

    Why We Should Make Namasu?

    • Easy and kept well – Namasu is extremely easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time.
    • Goes well with any dish – If you like lightly pickled salad, you will enjoy this dish as an appetizer or as a side to your main dishes like grilled fish and meat. I like to add this in the kids’ bento boxes as well.
    • Add colors to your meal – Wonderful way to introduce multiple colors to your plate! Besides daikon and carrot, you can also include cucumbers for another layer of color and crunch.
    • Easily accessible ingredients – No special ingredients necessary. Crunchy root vegetables along with sugar, salt, and rice vinegar.

    A black bowl containing Namasu (Japanese Daikon and Carrot Salad).

    3 Tips to Make Japanese Daikon & Carrot Salad

    1. Even thickness – Whether you cut into julienned strips by yourself or use a mandolin or a julienne peeler, try to have equal shapes for the best texture.
    2. Squeeze! – The key to this dish is to make sure to squeeze out all the liquid from the veggie, it creates optimal crunchiness.
    3. A hint of citrus – In Japan, there are usually a few strips of yuzu zest added on top of the salad. Yuzu strips add an 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.

    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.

    A black bowl containing Namasu (Japanese Daikon and Carrot Salad).

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.78 from 9 votes
    A black bowl containing Namasu (Japanese Daikon and Carrot Salad).
    Namasu (Daikon and Carrot Salad)
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    15 mins
     
    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! 
    Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: osechi, osechi ryori
    Servings: 4
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    • 14 oz daikon radish (380 g, 4", 10 cm)
    • 3 oz carrot (90 g, 2", 5 cm)
    • 1 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
    • 1-2 strips yuzu zest (optional)
    Seasonings:
    • 1 ½ Tbsp sugar
    • 1 ½ Tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp water
    • ¼ tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Namasu Ingredients
    2. Peel the daikon and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) piece in length. Peel the carrot.

      Namasu 1
    3. Cut the daikon in half (this will be the length of daikon in the final dish). Then cut into thin slabs about ⅛-inch (3mm) thickness.

      Namasu 2
    4. Then stack a few slabs at a time and cut them into julienned strips, about ⅛-inch (3mm) thickness. Put them in a large bowl.

      Namasu 3
    5. Cut the carrot into thin slabs then into julienned strips.

      Namasu 4
    6. Add 1 tsp salt and give a gentle massage. Set aside for 10 minutes.

      Namasu 5
    7. Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the seasonings in a large bowl.

      Namasu 6
    8. Whisk well together until the sugar is completely dissolved.

      Namasu 7
    9. Squeeze water from the julienned daikon and carrot and put them in the bowl with the seasonings.

      Namasu 9
    For Garnish (Optional)
    1. Peel off the zest of the bottom of yuzu. Remove the pith.

      Namasu 10
    2. Cut into julienned strips and garnish on top of Namasu.

      Namasu 11
    To Serve and Store
    1. Serve Namasu in a bowl and garnish with yuzu zest. If you have a whole yuzu fruit, you can create a yuzu cup by cutting off the top (this will be a lid) and remove the fruits inside without breaking or tearing the cup. Add Namasu in the yuzu cup to serve.

      Namasu 12
    Recipe Notes

    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.

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