The daikon radish (Raphanus sativus), is an annual, cool season root vegetable and a member of the Brassicaceae or mustard family. Also known as mooli, lobok and Chinese radish the daikon radish is most often sold today without its tops though the entire plant is actually edible, roots and leaves.
The daikon radish is bold in size, yet more delicate in flavor. The long cylindrical roots have a smooth creamy white skin and crisp, juicy white flesh. Flavor varies throughout the plant. The thickest part of the root closest to the tops is the sweetest whereas the narrow bottom region of the root is peppery and pungent. There are dozens of varieties ranging in size from six inches to three feet. The standard variety though averages ten to fourteen inches.
The daikon root is loaded with Vitamin C and the flesh contains a large amount of water, which conversely makes it a poor source of food energy. It also has the active enzyme, myrosinase, which inherently protects the plant from herbivores and also aids in digestion.
Daikon is a Japanese word, translating to large root. Its origins can be traced back to the Mediterranean region. They are thought to have made their way to China and then soon after Japan around 500 B.C. Fast-growing the daikon radish thrives in cool climates. In addition to Asian countries it can also be found growing commercially in some parts of the United States, specifically in California and Texas.
Daikon radish is an incredibly versatile vegetable and can be prepared raw or cooked. Essentially a gigantic radish, the entire plant is edible - greens to root. Raw daikon can be thinly sliced into salads, shredded or grated into slaws, or julienned and combined with carrots as a traditional Vietnamese pickle. Thick slices can be braised with beef or pork, or simmered in soups to bring out the vegetable's natural sweetness. A superior storage vegetable, it can keep up to four months in a cool root cellar environment.
Overnight Chinese Daikon Radish Pickles
1 1/2 cups chopped daikon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
In a mixing bowl, toss daikon with salt. Cover, and refrigerate until 1 to 2 tablespoons of water is released, about 30 minutes.
Drain and rinse daikon, removing as much salt as possible. Pat dry with a paper towel, and return to bowl. Stir in rice vinegar, black pepper and, if desired, sesame oil. Cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
Glazed Daikon Radish with Walnuts
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 4 cups Daikon radish*, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon light miso
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar/honey
- 1/3 cup raw walnuts
- Daikon radish tops, chopped
Place the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the radish slices in the pan, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 minutes, or until they are slightly softened.
Place the miso and the agave nectar together in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Add the sautéed radishes and walnuts. Toss well to coat.
Spread the radish tops around the pan evenly and cover. Take the pan off the stove and set aside for 3-5 minutes, or until the Daikon’s greens wilt.
Remove the frying pan’s lid and pour any condescended steam on the lid back into the pan. Pour the radish tops and any liquid that has accumulated into the bowl with the radishes and walnuts. Mix until all ingredients are well combined and the veggies are coated in agave glaze. Divide into servings and enjoy.
Daikon Radish "Rice" with Gochugaru & Fried Egg
- 1 large daikon radish, peeled, chopped roughly
- 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 1/2 tsp peeled and minced ginger
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup diced scallions
- 1/4 tsp gochugaru (sub in a pinch of regular red pepper flakes here if you don't have gochugaru)
- 1 large whole egg
- pepper, to taste
- Place your daikon radish noodles into a food processor and pulse until rice-like bits. Place in a bowl near a sink. Place another bowl next to the bowl of rice. Take large handfuls of the rice and squeeze out the excess water into the sink and then place in the empty bowl. Repeat this until you've squeezed out the excess moisture in all of the rice. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, place in the oil. Then, place in the garlic and ginger. Let cook for 30 seconds and then add in the scallions and daikon rice. Cook for 1 minute and then sprinkle over the gochugaru. Stir to combine and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside when done, in a bowl.
- In the same skillet, crack over the egg and let cook until the whites set. Once done, place on top of the bowl of rice and season with pepper.