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What is Daikon?

Learn the history of daikon, how to prepare it, and what it tastes like.

Daikon Hero

What is daikon?

Daikon is a type of large, white radish that is commonly used in Asian cuisine. It’s native to East Asia and has a long, cylindrical shape with white or light green skin. The flesh is white and has a mild, slightly sweet and spicy flavor. Daikon is often eaten raw or pickled and is also used in a variety of cooked dishes, such as soups, stews, and stir-fries. It’s a good source of vitamin C and is believed to have a number of health benefits, including aiding digestion and reducing inflammation.

What does daikon taste like?

Daikon has a mild, slightly sweet and spicy flavor. It’s often eaten raw and, when it is served in this way, the flavor is somewhat similar to that of a radish. When it’s cooked, the flavor becomes milder and slightly sweet. Some people compare the taste of cooked daikon to that of a cooked turnip or parsnip. Daikon is often used in Asian cuisine, and it’s often paired with flavors such as soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. It’s also commonly pickled, which gives it a slightly sour and salty flavor.

What is the history/origin of daikon?

Daikon is native to East Asia, and it has been cultivated in China, Japan, and other parts of the region for centuries. It’s a member of the brassica family, which also includes vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and kale. In Japan, daikon is known as "Japanese radish," and it has been a staple in Japanese cuisine for many centuries. It’s also widely used in other parts of Asia, including China, Korea, and Vietnam. In the West, daikon is less well-known but has become more widely available in recent years. It’s now grown in many parts of the world, including Europe and the United States.

How is daikon served? 

There are many ways daikon can be served. For example:

  • Raw: Daikon is often eaten raw and is often sliced thin and served as a garnish or topping for dishes such as sushi, sashimi, and other types of raw fish dishes.
  • Pickled: Daikon is also commonly pickled and is often served as a condiment or side dish. To make pickled daikon, the radish is sliced or grated and then soaked in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  • Cooked: Daikon is also used in a variety of cooked dishes, such as soups, stews, and stir-fries. It is often sliced or grated and added to the dish near the end of the cooking process, as it cooks quickly and can become mushy if overcooked.
  • Grated: Daikon can also be grated and used as a topping for dishes such as noodles, rice bowls, and sandwiches.
  • Mashed: Daikon can also be mashed and used as a spread or topping for dishes such as sandwiches and toast.

How do you make daikon? 

Here is a simple recipe for daikon:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add the daikon slices and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until they are tender but still crisp.
  4. Stir in the soy sauce and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  5. Serve hot.

This recipe is just one of many ways to cook daikon. You can also roast it, mash it, or add it to soups or stews. There are many different recipe options to choose from, so you can experiment and find the method that works best for you. 

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