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Daikon and Carrot Asazuke Salad - Namasu

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 11:07 AM

In Thomas Keller's cookbook, , there is a chapter called Lifesavers where Keller introduces a variety of staples like jams, pickles, infused oils, etc., which you can prepare in advance,  and have them on stand by to add to your dishes when you need that extra something.  If you have not come across Keller's book yet, it's a big book that has an illustration of a pig on the cover.   I bought mine at Costco. The recipes in this cookbook are more accessible and familiar than Keller's other books. The recipes occasionally read like a manual for assembling a model airplane (I could never put all the pieces together as a child), but if you are willing to pay attention, the dishes always come out very good , if not excellent.    

Back to lifesavers.  I have a few staples like Keller's in my pantry.  One is a a lightly pickled dish called Asazuke that can be made ahead with a variety of vegetables - daikon, turnip, carrots, cucumbers and chinese cabbage.  Asazuke is pickled with less salt than the standard Tsukemono, thus their shelf life is shorter - about 3-5 days in the fridge.  The Asazuke pickles are wonderful when I need a palate refreshner to go with my protein based dishes.   

Namasu made with carrots and daikon radish is one of my favorite Asazuke style pickle. It is a mildly sweet and sour pickled salad. Namasu made with carrots (lucky red color) and daikon is primarily eaten during New Year's to bring good fortune, but I eat it all year round.  

To make Namasu, I often use this old Japanese mandoline slicer Benrina to slice vegetables.  But you do have to be careful with your fingers.  Use the plastic guard that comes with the equipment.  You can also slice the vegetables by hand.  It's more work but the uneveness makes for a textural salad.

A daikon radish is long and big vegetable..  If you haven't used a daikon radish before, you might wonder how you can possibly use up the gigantic root.  Don't worry. Daikon is mostly water. You will see it transform when grated or rubbed with salt.  To store daikon, wrap it in damp paper towels or newspaper and store in the fridge.

For my salads, I use half of a big radish for 4 -6 servings.  Daikon by the way is full of vitamin C.   


1 lbs daikon (look for one that is unblemished and firm), peeled

1 large carrot, peeled

1 tbls salt 

1-2 Tbls sugar

2 tbls rice vinegar

1 tbls yuzu or lemon juice

Garnish:  1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds

Julienne the peeled daikon and carrots into 2 inch pieces. 

Rub the julienned vegetables with salt.  Massage the vegetables for a a minute or two until they become limp.  Drain the brine.  

Combine the sugar and vinegar, and mix well until dissolved.  Sprinkle the vinegar mixture and yuzu or lemon juice onto the vegetables, mix to combine, and chill.  Let the Namasu rest for 1 hour and up to overnight.  

Before serving, sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds.

Best eaten within 2-3 days. 

Categories: Salads

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