If you’ve ever been in Japan for New Year you may have indulged in some traditional Japanese New Year’s fare – osechi ryori.
Osechi ryori is made in advance as little if any housework is done during the new year’s celebrations. Pickling, smoking, marinating and simmering are common techniques of hozonshoku – foods that keep/preserve well.
There are typically at least 9 dishes which are served in a beautiful lacquerware bento box called a jubako with several tiers.
The dishes of osechi ryori are individually symbolic with vivid colours and nutritious ingredients for a good luck, health, fertility, peace and happiness.
The traditional namasu – raw vinegared dish – that is served on New Year’s Day is daikon radish & carrot pickles.
In Japan you can buy red carrots. The red of the carrot and white of the daikon symbolise good luck for the New Year.
New Year’s Namasu Recipe
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Equipment: a sharp Japanese knife
Cooking time: N/A
- 1 large carrot
- About 15cm of daikon (also called white carrot)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp premade liquid dashi stock
1. Use a chef knife to cut matchstick sized pieces of daikon and carrot along the grain.
2. Rub through with salt and let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Mix vinegar, sugar and dashi stock in a bowl until the sugar dissolves.
4. Squeeze out any liquid from the carrot and daikon and transfer to a clean bowl.
5. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and let infuse for an hour or two.
6. Drain the vegetables and serve as a side dish.
- Experiment with the amount of sugar and vinegar to suit your taste
- Best made two hours before serving so the flavour develops
- Use the pointy end of the daikon for a less bitter flavour
- This dish makes an excellent accompaniment to a cold crisp Japanese draft beer