1/3 of a large daikon
1/2 medium carrot (thick part)
1 tsp salt

2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp water
5 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp mirin
4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Kohaku Namasu (red and white salad)

Kohaku means red and white, and signifies happiness and celebration in Japanese culture. This simple salad is served during Oshogatsu, the New Year’s holiday celebration.

Cut the daikon and carrot into sengiri, or thin julienne. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, and let sit for 20 minutes. The vegetables will release quite a bit of water. Drain, and squeeze as much liquid as possible. If this step is not taken, the water will dilute the dressing. Squeezing this extra moisture also leads to a crunchier texture and more intense flavor.

Combine the vegetables with the remaining ingredients. The salt from the previous step should be enough, however, it depends on how much is lost when squeezing the moisture. Therefore, taste before serving. If needed, add 1/4 tsp more. Chill for at least 30 minutes to combine the flavors. Serve mounded in the center of communal bowls, or in small containers placed in a jubako.

Leftovers keep for a few days in the fridge, staying remarkably fresh and crunchy.

Serves 6-8