Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Daikon

Giant white radish (lit. "large root"). Raphanus sativus. A large (20-35 cm long and 5-10 cm in diameter), white and very mild-flavored radish. The mild flavor surprises as smaller radishes are usually rather bitter or sharp. Important daily vegetable in Japan. The best time is from early autumn to early spring, when it looses its summer pungency.

Daikon is very low in calories, but rich in Vitamin C and helps the digestion of starchy foods. It is thought to help in treating digestive problems.

Uses:
  • Boiled with other ingredients in nimono
  • Furufuki daikon: daikon cut in rings, boiled and covered with neri-miso, a thick sweet miso sauce
  • Shredded and served raw in a small mound on which sashimi is placed
  • Grated, daikon-oroshi is mixed into the tentsuyu, the soy-based dip-sauce served with tempura
  • Daikon-oroshi is also mixed with tiny sardines to produce the dish jako-oroshi
  • Served as momiji oroshi: daikon oroshi mixed with grated red chili. Named of Momiji, maple leaves, which turn bright red in autumn.
  • Made into various types of pickles as Takuan-zuke
There are also other types such as:
  • Kagoshima daikon, which is shaped like large turnip and used in stews.
  • Moriguchi daikon, long and slender and used to make kasu-zuke pickles
  • The sturdy Horyo daikon, used in stews
  • Nerima daikon, pickled to make takuan-zuke.
Being able to peel a daikon in a single, unbroken strip serves no real practical purpose but is a test for the knife technique of cooks.

Daikon