Pickled Carrot and Daikon Recipe (Kōhaku Namasu) is one of the simplest sweet pickle recipes. Cut carrot and daikon into thin sticks and immerse in a sweet vinegar. That all there is to it.
It takes just 15 minutes to make, but the majority of the time is spent on wilting the vegetables. You can keep Pickled Carrot and Daikon (Kōhaku Namasu) for 7-10 days in the fridge. You can also freeze it for a month.
About Kōhaku Namasu
Carrot and daikon pickled in sweet vinegar is called ‘kōhaku namasu’ (紅白なます) in Japanese. Namasu (なます) originated in China long time ago, before Christ. Namasu was originally a dish that consisted of shredded raw meat and raw fish.
After Japanese people adopted this dish, it was changed to serve julienned meat/fish and vegetables dressed in a sauce. In the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573), people started using vinegar to dress the ingredients.
These days namasu is a generic name for the vegetables and/or seafood dishes dressed/pickled in sweet vinegar (‘amazu’, 甘酢).
So my recipe, Crab and Cucumber Salad with Sweet Vinegar Dressing (Amazu) can also be called namasu.
The word ‘kōhaku’ (紅白) means red (‘kō’, 紅) and white (‘haku’, 白). You can easily understand why it is called this from the colours of the dish. Among all the namasu dishes, Kōhau Namasu is considered to be a celebratory dish, and it is one of the dishes served at the New Year’s feast in Japan.
Red and white – ‘kōhaku’ (紅白) – is a symbol of celebration in Japan. So, it was only natural for a Pickled Carrot and Daikon Recipe (Kōhaku Namasu) to be included in the feast. The long preservation time is also perfect for such an occasion.
What’s in my Pickled Carrot and Daikon Recipe
Many recipes only use julienned carrot and daikon. But today, I added a small amount of finely julienned lemon rind to give a refreshing taste to the pickling liquid.
- Daikon (white radish)
- Salt to wilt vegetables
- Finely julienned lemon rind
- Rice wine vinegar
- Konbu dashi
The ratio of the quantity of carrot and daikon is 1 to 3 respectively. This is because the bright red of the carrot stands out in the white daikon, and it will be overwhelming if the quantity of two vegetables is the same. The 1 to 3 ratio makes the dish visually well-balanced.
I used julienned lemon rind, but the traditional Kōhau Namasu uses yuzu citrus fruit, which is more aromatic than lemon and lime. Unfortunately, yuzu is not easily accessible in Sydney. If you are lucky enough to be able to buy yuzu fruit, I would strongly recommend that you use yuzu in place of lemon.
For today’s dish, please use Japanese rice wine vinegar, not the standard white vinegar if at all possible. The acidity of the white vinegar is too sharp for it.
Some recipes don’t even use dashi to make pickling liquid. But I think that addition of konbu dashi makes the pickling liquid milder.
How to Make Pickled Carrot and Daikon Recipe
There is nothing difficult about making today’s dish and it’s very quick to prepare. But if you are not good at cutting vegetables finely, you might need more time to prepare the vegetables.
- Julienne carrot into 3mm thick, 6cm long sticks.
- Julienne daikon into 4mm thick, 6cm long sticks.
- Sprinkle salt over the carrot and daikon sticks and mix well to wilt them. Leave for 10 minutes.
- Mix the Pickling ingredients and dissolve sugar.
- Squeeze the water out of the vegetables as much as possible and place them in a container or a zip lock bag.
- Put the lemon pieces and the pickling liquid to the container/bag.
You don’t have to be accurate with the thickness and length of the vegetable sticks, just make sure that they are close enough to the specified measurement. The reason for the carrot bing marginally thinner is that they look better for the similar reasons to the 1 to 3 quantity ratio.
You can eat the Pickled Carrot and Daikon about an hour after pickling them, but I usually store them in the fridge overnight. When keeping them in the fridge or freezer, store them with the pickling liquid.
Kōhau Namasu is a great side dish or even an appetiser. This is a vegetarian dish and a convenient item to stock in the fridge at any time.
This is one of the simplest sweet pickle recipes. Cut carrot and daikon into thin sticks and marinate in a sweet vinegar marinade. That all there is to it.
Pickled Carrot and Daikon Recipe (Kōhaku Namasu) is a must-have food in the Japanese New Year’s feast. The long preservation time also is perfect for such an occasion. It’s a vegetarian dish and a convenient item to stock in the fridge at any time.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 60g/2.1oz carrot
- 180g/6.3oz daikon (white radish)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp lemon rind julienned (optional, note 1)
- 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar (note 2)
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp konbu dashi (note 3)
Cut carrot into 3mm/⅛" wide, 6cm/2⅜” long matchsticks, and daikon into 4mm/3⁄16" wide, 6cm long matchsticks (note 4).
Put the carrot and daikon sticks in a bowl, sprinkle salt over them and mix well, ensuring that the salt is spread over the vegetable sticks evenly.
Leave for 10-15 minutes to wilt the vegetable sticks.
Put sugar and konbu dashi in a small saucepan and heat it up until the sugar is dissolved completely (note 5). Add vinegar, mix to make a pickling liquid.
Take a handful of wilted vegetables at a time, squeeze the water out of the vegetables and place them in a container with a lid or a zip lock bag.
Put the lemon rind pieces and the pickling liquid into the container/bag.
If you are using a container, seal the surface of the pickles with a piece of cling wrap with no air bubbles underneath the cling wrap, then place the lid on (note 6).
If you are using a zip lock bag, remove the air from the bag as much as possible before sealing the bag.
Store in the fridge. It is best to pickle for at least 1 hour (note 7), preferably overnight.
1. If you can get the Japanese citrus called yuzu, use yuzu rind instead of lemon rind. Yuzu is more aromatic.
2. For today’s dish, please do not substitute with standard white vinegar if possible. The acidity of the white vinegar is too sharp.
3. Instead of konbu dashi, you can use standard dashi stock. But using konbu dashi makes it vegetarian.
4. The thickness and length does not need to be super accurate. Slightly thicker/thinner/longer/shorter sticks are OK.
The carrot sticks are marginally thinner than the daikon sticks. This is because the balance of red and white vegetables is best in this way.
5. You don't need to bring it to a boil. As an alternative, you can put it in a microwave safe container and heat it up.
6. When you place a piece of cling wrap on the surface, the pickling liquid comes to the top layer of the vegetables, allowing all the vegetable sticks to pickle evenly.
7. Kōhaku Namasu keeps 7-10 days in the fridge. You can also freeze it for 1 month.
8. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 101g calories: 56kcal fat: 0.2g (0%) saturated fat: 0.1g (0%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g monounsaturated fat: 0g cholesterol: 0.1mg (0%) sodium: 635mg (26%) potassium: 173mg (5%) carbohydrates: 13g (4%) dietary fibre: 1.2g (5%) sugar: 11g protein: 0.8g vitamin a: 50% vitamin c: 13% calcium: 1.9% iron: 1.8%