Namasu is a kind of Sunomono that is often a part of Osechi Ryouri (Japanese New Year cuisine). There are a lot of kinds of Namasu, but here we made the most typical one: red and white Namasu. The red is carrot and the white is Daikon radish, both pickled in sweet vinegar. There are meanings to each dish in Osechi Ryouri, mostly for happiness and good health for a whole year. Red and white are the colors of celebration in Japan, so it is the perfect color combination to celebrate a new year.
If you use the same amount of carrot as radish, it looks mostly red (orange). So it’s better to use much less carrot than radish, even less than the amount we used. Kombu (dried kelp) is not necessary, but it gives Umami (savory taste) to enhance the flavor of the dish and cut the harshness of vinegar. Because it is a part of Osechi Ryouri, it needs to be able to last at least 3 days (so house wives don’t have to cook in the beginning of new year), so it may taste stronger than regular Sunomono. If you like to use less sugar, please do so.
Even if you are not making a whole Osechi Ryouri, add some lucky color to your new year meal, and you’ll have a very happy new year.
- 1 lb Daikon radish (450g)
- 1/4 lb or less carrot (110g)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar (120ml)
- 1/2 cup water (120ml)
- 1" square Kombu (2.5cm)
- 3 Tblsp sugar
- Put the rest of the ingredients in a pot, let it boil, and cool.
- Slice Daikon radish and carrot very thinly into 2" (5cm) lengths. Add salt and leave for 5 minutes. Squeeze out water from the cut radish and carrot. Cut the Kombu very thinly and add to the vegetables.
- Add vinegar mixture to the vegetables and mix. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.