Image Map

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kaki Kohaku Namasu (柿 紅白なます)

Kohaku Namasu (紅白なます) is a traditional celebration food in Japanese culture, most prominent around the New Years festivities. Usually it is made with julienned carrots and daikon radish that is soaked in a rice vinegar mixture. Red and white (kohaku) are considered lucky colors together, and even though this dish is actually orange and white, it's close enough.

And while New Year's is still a couple months away, I can't help but get wrapped up in the excitement before Thanksgiving. This is both a party dish and a quintessential fall dish, thanks to the persimmon, so I could see it at our table this Thanksgiving.

I decided to make this version because I still have quite the haul of fuyu kaki leftover despite my bundt cake. The persimmon takes place of the carrot, and substitutes well since both have a nice sweetness that plays off the bitter daikon and salty vinegar dressing. Some recipes include citrus juice, to play up the acidity.

Some people like to serve kohaku namasu immediately, other suggest letting it settle in the fridge for several hours or overnight to let the daikon and vinegar mellow.

Took forever, still huge pieces!
Every recipe also varies on the ratio of white to orange, so feel free to have more or less than I suggest based on your fancy. I kept eating the fresh persimmon and the freshly salted daikon before they ever made it into the vinegar mix!

When making this, I realized I am terrible at cutting things. Julienning the daikon and persimmon took forever, and I wasted a lot of the persimmon just because I didn't know how to properly make a squat round shape into matchsticks. Even then, the julienne pieces ended up being like 1/4" big. Oh well, maybe it's time to invest in a mandoline.

Kaki Kohaku Namasu (柿 紅白なます)

1 cup of fuyu persimmon, julienned
2 cups of daikon radish, julienned (approximately 2" long)
1/4 cup dashi
3 tbs of rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Mix the salt and the daikon radish in a bowl and let sit at least 10 minutes. You will notice a lot of liquid exuding from the daikon. Drain the daikon, and thoroughly rinse off excess salt. Squeeze the wilted daikon hard to remove the last bit of water.

Combine the dashi, vinegar, and sugar. Toss the daikon and persimmon with the vinegar mixture and serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 3-4 days. To serve, give a fresh toss to coat the shreds in the vinegar, then shake off any excess dressing and serve in a small mound. This works great in bentos as a refreshing side dish.
This is a tiny baby daikon, they are usually quite thick!
See Also:
Fuyu Kaki Bundt
Shiso Katsuo Ninniku
Tsukemono and Furikake Donburi


  1. I'll be giving this one a try. I love persimmons!

    1. I was surprised at how well daikon and persimmon went together. I never think about persimmon's capability in savory/sweet dishes, but this is fast and tasty! Going to be a bento box side item for sure.

  2. I am definitely going to try this tonight!!!!!
    I am going back on your site to see if you have a recipe using kaki for "Kaki bread" or "Kaki cake" perhaps?

    1. Yes I do! My Fuyu Kaki Bundt is a yummy spice cake that uses kaki! The link is actually in the above article, but here it is again.