Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Daikon 大根

The giant white radish you find in so many dishes here in Japan.  Daikon can sometimes have a strong sulfury taste, particularly when raw, but when cooked most of that taste goes away.  Daikon is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and supposedly helps cure hangovers.  I don't know if that last part is true, but next time you pull an all-nighter in Osaka eat a cup of shredded daikon in the morning and tell me how it goes.

When buying daikon, choose ones that are firm and on the smaller side.  Sometimes you'll find daikon that are lavender or bright pink in color.  I have no idea what the difference is between those and regular daikon other than their psychedelic tendencies.

How to Prepare
First you'll want to scrub the outside of the daikon to get rid of any dirt that's hanging out.  Chop off the top 2 inches of the daikon as that part is very tough and not worth eating.  Slice the daikon into large section and use a peeler or knife to take off the outer skin of the daikon.  Then soak the daikon in ice water to get it nice and crispy.  You can also just shred the daikon, dice it, etc at this point.

Easy Daikon Recipe
This is my own take on borscht, the Eastern European soup that usually incorporates beets.

Daikon Winter Soup

Serves 4
Prep Time: About 1 hour


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped leeks
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • about 1/2 of a small daikon, peeled and shredded
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup diced beef
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 small potatoes, diced
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
  • sour cream for garnish
1. Heat oil and butter in a saucepan.  Add leek and garlic.  Saute for about 5 minutes.
2. Add vegetables except cabbage, sugar, vinegar, tomatoes, beef and salt.
3. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes.
4. At the same time, add potatoes, water, and boullion to the soup pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are just tender.
5. Add cabbage and vegetables from the saucepan.
6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20-30 minutes.
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
8. Serve garnished with sour cream.
9. Finished!

1 comment:

  1. yesss, i love this vegetable! i recently bought a hefty chunk of one in a specialty store. I have been cutting them up and marinating them in a little rice wine vinegar with a little sugar and salt and pepper. my bird loves them too!