Julienned Turnip Salad with Sake-Soaked Apricots

I admit, we’ve had a bit of a recipe-drought during the winter this year … but it seems appropriate to kick off a new season of recipes with a recipe from our season kick-off potluck.

This recipe is something that I remember the Rev. Jokei Kyodo making once when I was living at Dai Bosatsu Zendo in upstate New York. If I remember right, I was her assistant tenzo (cook/chef) for a retreat. She put this salad together after soaking the dried fruit in sake in the fridge for a day or two. I remember the salad being delicious — who knew turnips could be so tender and sweet? — and I remember her scolding me for pouring the apricot-infused sake down the drain when (I thought) we were done with it! So, learn from the error of my ways: Hold onto the sake. It’s tasty by itself or used for something else later.

Since then, I’ve tried to replicate this salad a couple times from memory with no good results. Finally, I found a recipe, which apparently originates in “The Heart of Zen Cuisine” by Soei Yoneda.

(I multiplied the recipe by 4 for the potluck.)

Here we go…


  • 2 Turnips
  • 4 Dried Apricots
  • 1 Tbsp Sake
  • 1/2 tsp of salt (plus a pinch more, later)
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Water


1) Cut dried apricots into fine julienne strips. Put those in a bowl and pour the 1 Tbsp of sake over them.

2) Cut off the tops of your turnips and peel them. Julienne the turnips and put them in bowl with 1/2 tsp salt. Let sit for 5 minutes.

3) Rinse the julienned turnips with water and return to the bowl.

4) Mix 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, a pinch of salt and 1 Tbsp water.

5) Squeeze the liquid from the apricots with your fingers, and add them to turnips. Pour the sweetened vinegar dressing over everything and toss well.

6) Best left overnight in the refrigerator for flavor the to mature. Served chilled.

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