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Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Daikon-Carrot Salad with Sesame and Lemon

Daikon-Carrot Salad with Sesame and Lemon

30 minutes plus marinating

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Daikon-Carrot Salad with Sesame and Lemon

Free

As Sonoko Sakai, author of “Japanese Home Cooking” explains, many vinegared Japanese salads fall somewhere between a pickle and a conventional salad, and this namasu is a good example. Meant to be served in small portions, as most Japanese pickles are, this daikon and carrot salad is traditional at New Year’s, but there’s no reason the refreshingly crunchy, tangy-sweet tangle of textures can’t be served year-round. For our adaptation of Sakai’s recipe, we skipped the harder-to-source ingredients (such as dried persimmon and yuzu) for the more widely available substitutes that she suggests (dried apricots and lemon). We also use water instead of dashi (Japanese stock) for the marinade, but if you have dashi, use an equal amount; it will add umami to make the vegetables taste fuller and richer. Though the salad is simple to make, it requires a two-step process: first, the vegetables are rubbed with salt and squeezed of moisture. Then they are dressed and marinated for at least four hours (or up to one week). A mortar and pestle works well for grinding the sesame seeds, or give them two or three pulses in an electric spice grinder.

Makes about 3

cups

Tip

Don’t be shy about massaging the daikon and carrots with the salt. Use your hands to work the salt into the vegetables until they begin to wilt. A technique used in many types of Japanese pickles, this step forces the vegetables to release some of their water and renders their texture crunchy-crisp. Table salt has a fine texture that works best for this, so don’t use kosher salt.

30 minutes

plus marinating

1 pound daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
Table salt
3/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dried apricots, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted and coarsely ground (see headnote)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Ingredients
  • 1

    pound daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks

  • 1

    medium carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks

  • Table salt

  • ¾

    cup unseasoned rice vinegar

  • ¼

    cup white sugar

  • ¼

    cup dried apricots, cut into thin strips

  • 1

    tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted and coarsely ground (see headnote)

  • 1

    teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • ¼
.
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Daikon-Carrot Salad with Sesame and Lemon

Get Ready to Cook

Makes about 3

cups

30 minutes

plus marinating

Tip

Don’t be shy about massaging the daikon and carrots with the salt. Use your hands to work the salt into the vegetables until they begin to wilt. A technique used in many types of Japanese pickles, this step forces the vegetables to release some of their water and renders their texture crunchy-crisp. Table salt has a fine texture that works best for this, so don’t use kosher salt.

Ingredients
  • 1

    pound daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks

  • 1

    medium carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks

  • Table salt

  • ¾

    cup unseasoned rice vinegar

  • ¼

    cup white sugar

  • ¼

    cup dried apricots, cut into thin strips

  • 1

    tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted and coarsely ground (see headnote)

  • 1

    teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • ¼
Step 1 of 4

Massage the Vegetables with Salt

1
pound daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1
medium carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1
teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, toss together the daikon, carrots and 1 teaspoon salt.


Using your hands, massage the salt into the vegetables until they begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Set aside for about 5 minutes.

Step 2 of 4

Make the Vinegar Mixture

¾
cup unseasoned rice vinegar
¼
cup white sugar
¾
teaspoon salt
¾
cup water

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar and ¾ teaspoon salt and ¾ cup water.


Whisk until the sugar and salt dissolve.

Step 3 of 4

Toss to Combine Vegetables and Mixture

A handful at a time, squeeze the water from the vegetables. Discard any liquid accumulated in the bowl, then return the vegetables to it.


Pour the vinegar mixture over the daikon and carrots, then toss to combine.


Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 week.

Step 4 of 4

Serve

¼
cup dried apricots, cut into thin strips
1
tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted and coarsely ground (see headnote)
1
teaspoon grated lemon zest
¼
teaspoon red pepper flakes

When ready to serve, add the apricots, sesame seeds, lemon zest and pepper flakes, then toss to combine.


Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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