Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
When you look at most meals in Hawai‘i, you’ll usually see a main, a starch (probably rice), and a bunch of sides. We’re talking Kim Chee, Mac Salad, Lomi Salmon, or something pickled. Namasu is a Japanese-style vinegar-dressed dish. It’s typically made with cucumbers, though it’s not uncommon to find it with carrots and daikon, as well as limu (ogo), bean sprouts, lotus root, or even celery. And the options aren’t just limited to plants. There are many recipes that add clam, crab, abalone, and shrimp (both dried and freshly cooked). My mom always has some version of this side on hand, and she pulls it out for pretty much every meal—breakfast included.
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 2 Japanese cucumbers, or 1 English cucumber, sliced into ¼- inch-thick rounds
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
- ½ daikon radish (about 1¼ pounds), peeled and julienned
- 2 teaspoons Hawaiian salt (‘alaea)
In a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, stir the vinegar and sugar together and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl, toss the cucumbers, carrot, and daikon with the salt. Let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain thoroughly. Place the vegetables in a jar and cover with the vinegar mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving. This will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.