The Japanese New Year is a time when everyone in the family takes a break, even the person who would normally be slaving away in the kitchen! Families traditionally share osechi ryouri, which consists of small dishes usually served in lacquered boxes; much of the food is pickled or fermented so as to last a few days and give the usual cook a break. The dishes in traditional osechi ryouri all have some auspicious meaning, and are meant to bring the eater good fortune in the new year.
Kouhaku, or literally, “red white”, is the historical colour combination for celebration in Japan. Namasu is a type of salad made of raw (nama) vegetables and vinegar (su). The vegetables chosen for a namasu which make it a worthy addition to osechi ryouri are carrot, for its (almost) red vividness, and daikon (white radish) for its pure white colour.
Happy New Year!
- 150 g daikon
- 40 g carrot
- 1 tsp salt
- 30 g fried tofu about ½ a piece (optional)
- ¼ cup tosazu
- 4 cm yuzu zest (optional)
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds (optional)
- Pour boiled water over the fried tofu to remove the excess oil.Finely julienne the daikon, carrot, tofu and yuzu.
- Sprinkle the salt over the daikon and carrot and mix well. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
- When the vegetables have softened a little give them a rinse, then squeeze a handful at a time to remove the excess water and put in a different bowl with the fried tofu. It’s really important to squeeze out all the water, so that the veggies are crisp instead of soggy.
- Add the tosazu dressing and mix well. Set it aside for 10 minutes at least. When you’re ready to eat, top with sesame seeds and yuzu zest. Can be served at room temperature or chilled.