Namasu

Namasu, delicately sliced vegetables that are pickled with rice vinegar, is served with virtually every meal at the Eiheiji monastery in Japan where the monks partake in a dining ritual that is both ceremonial and meditative. The original recipe can be traced back to China, where it typically contained either meat or fish. This meatless version of the dish reflects the principles of shojin ryori, the vegetarian cuisine adhered to by Buddhist monks in Japan. Yuzu juice brings mildly floral, sweet acidity that lightens the namasu, without being overly tart.

Namasu
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
Yield:
4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 (14- to 16-inch-long) daikon, cut into 1/8 - x 1/8 - x 2-inch strips (about 4 cups)

  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/8 - x 1/8- x 2-inch strips (about 2 cups)

  • 2 teaspoons  kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar 

  • 1 tablespoon  granulated sugar 

  • 1 tablespoon bottled yuzu juice

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. Toss together daikon and carrots in a colander set over a large bowl. Sprinkle salt over daikon mixture; gently toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature until mixture begins to soften, about 25 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, sugar, yuzu juice, and 1 tablespoon water in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved.

  3. Using your hands, gently squeeze liquid from daikon mixture, being careful not to disfigure the daikon and carrots. Add to vinegar mixture; toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.

  4. Divide mixture evenly among bowls; garnish with toasted sesame seeds, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Make Ahead

Namasu may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Notes

Find bottled yuzu juice at Asian grocery stores or online.

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