The daikon radish looks like a large, white icicle, and it is Asian in origin and a relative of the turnip family with a sharp, sweetish flavor. It’s called “muulii” in some cultures and has been available in the U.S. for little more than ten years.
When purchasing, choose ones which have crisp leaves and firm flesh, pure white and free of cracks and bruises. Scrub the root and peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut into uniform sizes for recipe planned. Available year-round, daikons keep for about seven days in the crisper.
Daikon radish leaves are highly nutritious. Use them as you would kale, chard, mustard or beet greens.
Asians use the radish, itself, as an aid to digesting fried foods. There are many large claims to how friendly daikon is to the digestive tract. It is also thought to reduce cancer risk, be an effective diuretic as well as decongestant. It is high in vitamin C and folic acid.
ASIAN USES FOR DAIKON RADISH:
- Daikon is also frequently used shredded and mixed into ponzu (a soy sauce and citrus juice condiment) as a dip.
- They frequently dry daikon as a method of preserving.
- They use the sprouts in salads.
- The Chinese make a pan-fried turnip cake called chai tow kway.
- Daikon is carved for elaborate decoration.
- The Koreans make a soup they call muguk.
- In Bangladeshi and Pakistani cuisine, the young daikon are sliced, boiled and flash fried with spices.
- A popular Asian seasoning for the daikon radish is Chaat Masala.
- In South India, daikon is the main ingredient in sambhar, a mixture of onions, tamarind pulp, lentils and special spicing.
GENERAL USE SUGGESTIONS IN NORTH AMERICA:
- Pickled and spiced
- Sliced in salads
- Grated in slaw
- Sliced in wraps
- Fruit and veggie relish
- Shred into fritters
- Stir fry
- In soups and stews
- Boiled and buttered
- Roast, grill or braise
- Serve with dips
- Curls when sliced thinly, soak in ice water
DAIKON TASTES GOOD WITH:
- Vinegar, regular and balsamic
- Soy sauce
- Raw vegetables
- Most herbs and spices