Carrot And Daikon Salad (or Namasu)
Bentō usually contains various sunomono (vinegared food) in which raw or cooked vegetables and fruits (or other foods) are dressed in a thin rice vinegar-based sauce. It is important to use rice vinegar for these dishes as it has a mild taste that will not overwhelm the main ingredients, yet has more flavor than distilled white vinegar. The following salad is stunning with its deep orange and white matchsticks, interspersed with bits of dried apricot.
FOR MORE ABOUT BENTO AND ITS COMMON RECIPES, SEE JAPANESE BENTO.
• 1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
• 1/2 pound daikon radish, peeled, cut into matchsticks
• 1/4 cup slivered dried apricots
• 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 tablespoon mirin
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Place prepared carrot, daikon, and apricots into a bowl. In a small jar mix together the remaining ingredients.
2. When everything is dissolved pour over the carrot/daikon/apricot mixture. Toss well and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
3. Let portions drain to remove excess dressing before serving and placing into your bentō box.
Again, a mandolin will make the carrot and daikon preparation easy.
Jeff Nekola has a PhD in Ecology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has a passion for biodiversity in its many forms, whether it be plants, butterflies, and land snails in the wild or crops grown in gardens, orchards and fields, or the use of those foods as expressed by the entire range of humanity's cuisines. You can learn more here.
Linda Fey's first and finest childhood memories are of helping her mother and grandmother in the garden and then bringing in freshly picked produce to the dinner table. As an adult, she has over 20 years of experience in market gardening and teaches middle-school English at the Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science. Visit www.lindafey.com to view her writing about food and life.