Ingredients for 4 Servings
Daikon (大根 / Daikon) 300g (enough for 300 g after skinning)
Carrots (にんじん / Ninjin) 50g (Kyō ninjin (京にんじん / Ninjin) if possible)
Shiokōji (塩麹 / Shiokōji) 2 tsp (for marinating)
Amazake (甘酒 / Amazake) 150 ml (concentrated (濃縮 / nōshuku) type)
Shiokōji (塩麹 / Shiokōji) 2 tsp
Vinegar (酢/ Su) 1 tbsp
Yuzu juice (柚子果汁 / Yuzu kajū) 1 tbsp
Yuzu (柚子 / Yuzu) 4
How to Make
1. Cut the top third off of each yuzu. Use a spoon to remove the flesh from the bottom two-thirds portion to form a cup. This is the yuzugama. Squeeze the juice out of the scooped-out flesh into a bowl. Shave the zest off of the rind from the top third of the yuzu and then cut it into very thin strips to be used as a garnish. The remainder of the top third of each yuzu will go into the bottom of a yuzugama.
2. Skin and julienne the daikon and carrot. Add the julienned daikon and carrots to a mixing bowl, add 2 tsp of shiokōji, mix well and then set the bowl aside for about 30 minutes. Afterward, squeeze all of the excess water out of the daikon and carrots.
3. To a plastic bag, add the amazake, shiokōji, vinegar, yuzu juice, and the daikon and carrots, and mix well. Set the bag aside for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine. This seasoned mixture of julienned daikon and carrots is called namasu.
4. Place a yuzu top (from step 1) in the bottom of each of the yuzugamas. Do this so that the outside is facing up and you have a dome in the bottom of each yuzugama. Fill the yuzugamas with equal portions of namasu and garnish with thin strips of yuzu zest.
Significance of Namasu as an Osechi Dish
Namasu is often included in osechi ryōri. White and red are seen as auspicious colors in Japan, so the combination of white daikon and, albeit orange (not red but close enough) carrots are natural additions to an osechi ryōri spread. Also, cut into thin strips, the daikon and carrot are evocative of the white and red paper cords that decorate envelopes used for festive occasions. During the New Year holiday such envelopes are used to give money to children.
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