Daikon is a popular ingredient in Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian dishes. It is also called white radish, Japanese radish, Chinese radish, Habanos, daikon, loo bak, winter radish, and turbo. The vegetable looks like a big, round, white carrot and is often eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. When a white radish grows underground the whole time, it will be soft and crisp and have a mild flavor. If the root is allowed to stick out of the ground, the exposed parts can turn green and a little bit woody.
Fresh white radishes are crunchy and juicy and have a mild flavor that can be very nice. When added to cooked dishes, they can be added at the last minute to keep their crispiness or simmered for a longer time, depending on the cook’s taste. White radishes that have been grated are also used to make cooked dishes, like the delicately fried cakes served at Chinese New Year.
What is Daikon Radish?
White radish is a type of radish. It comes from East Asia, where it has been grown for hundreds of years. There are many ways to cook with white radish, both in Asian dishes and in dishes from other parts of the world. You can usually find this food in big grocery stores and Asian markets. This radish can also be grown at home by gardeners willing to try. It grows quickly and is usually easy to care for.
Several cultures think this radish is a great way to help the body digest food. Small plates of grated radish may be served with fried foods and other heavy dishes to help people digest them. This radish can also be used to clean your palate or as a garnish. In Japan, people like to eat white radish raw in salads, but in China, it’s more common to cook it in stir-fries and other dishes. Some places in Asia also eat white radish pickles as a side dish or snack.
Even though white radishes are winter radishes that usually grow in the fall and winter, they are often available all year. This vegetable can be grown in temperate climates where summer temperatures don’t get too high. They should fertilize the soil and make sure it drains well, then plant seeds or seedlings in the middle of summer. During their growing time, these radishes like to stay moist, and they will need to be thinned out to give their roots room to grow. They can be picked up until the end of fall.
There are many different kinds of daikon radish in Asia besides the common white one. The top of the Cantonese lobak or lo pak root, where the leaves are, is light green. One kind from Korea called mu is also green and white but is rounder and shorter. Lobak and mu are both more peppery and spicy than daikon radish. Find a watermelon radish if you want something with more color. This Chinese daikon is round or oval; its flesh is dull and light green on the outside and bright pink on the inside, like a watermelon. Most of the time, it’s served raw and thinly sliced to keep the color.
Culinary Uses of Daikon Radish
You can eat raw daikon, pickled daikon, or cooked daikon. It is a key part of Asian cooking, but it can be used in many different kinds of food.
Here are some interesting ways to add daikon to your diet:
- Grate raw daikon over a salad for a nutritious, crunchy topping.
- Add daikon to stir-fries to kick up the flavor.
- Make Korean cubed radish kimchi (Kkakdugi) using this recipe.
- Use daikon in soups and stews in place of carrots.
- Steam daikon and top it with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a low-calorie side dish.
- Mix daikon with cubed potatoes and carrots and roast them.
- Serve raw, sliced daikon alongside other veggies with a tasty dip for a healthy appetizer.
- Make traditional Chinese daikon cakes using this recipe.
- Use a spiralizer to make daikon noodles and toss them in a homemade peanut sauce.
- Add daikon to veggie spring rolls for a crispy texture.
- Incorporate daikon into Asian dishes, such as curries and soups.
Remember that you can eat the whole daikon plant, even the leafy green tops, which can be added to soups and sautés. You can also try daikon sprouts. In Asian cooking, they are often used in salads and sushi. Even though they are small, they have powerful medicinal properties, and Test-tube studies have shown that they have antioxidant and anticancer effects. Use them the same way as other sprouts, like broccoli or alfalfa.
How to Make White Radish Salad?
Radish salad is a common addition to mixed salad plates in German restaurants. Scoop a bit onto your plate and see if you enjoy it as an accompaniment to your next Schnitzel or hamburger.
What does it Taste Like?
Raw daikon radish tastes sweet and slightly spicy, and it’s usually less spicy than a red radish, which has a peppery taste. Depending on the type of white radish, some have a stronger flavor than others. The meat has a lot of crunch and juice. When daikon is cooked, it tastes mild and sweet and gets soft, like a cooked turnip. The greens are very peppery and have a strong taste that gets a little less strong when they are cooked. What Does Daikon Taste Like? Daikon is less peppery than other radishes and has a milder flavor. When served raw, it has a mild, tangy flavor and a crisp, juicy texture. When cooked, it has a strong, sweet flavor similar to that of cooked turnips.
Where to Buy Daikon Radish?
Daikon can sometimes be found in grocery stores, especially fancier ones or areas with many Japanese or Chinese people. If you can’t find daikon at your local grocery store, try an Asian market. Radish is in season in the winter, and some farmer’s markets and CSAs sell it. The vegetable is usually sold by the pound and can be bought in stores annually.
The type of white radishes can be about 6 inches long or as long as an arm, and some have more curves than others. Look for a firm daikon with tight skin that is heavy for its size and has no cuts, dark spots, or soft spots.
The daikon radish can be grown at home. Depending on your growing zone, you can plant the seeds in the summer or early fall for a winter harvest or about two months before the first frost date. The plant is often used as tillage in farming because it leaves a hole in the soil for crops like potatoes and puts nutrients back into the soil.
If the leaves are still on your daikon, remove them and put them in a different place. The root won’t go bad for a week or two if you put it in a plastic bag in the fridge. You can keep the leaves for up to three days. Cut, raw daikon keeps well, but it may give off a strong smell that other foods in your fridge can pick up. You can freeze blanched daikon for up to a month, and cooked daikon will keep in an airtight container for a few days. Pickled daikon will last for at least three weeks.