Toss some of this preserved pickled daikon radish into your morning congee, or use it to flavor your next pot of soy milk soup or noodle soup. Daikon is commonly offered preserved in vacuum-sealed containers at Asian grocery stores, although it can be easily prepared at home.
WHAT IS DAIKON?
Radishes are a vegetable family, and daikon radish is one variety. Chinese turnip is another name for this vegetable. These white radishes are tall and thick and have a spicy, bitter, and sweet flavor.
I can’t get enough of this incredibly nutritious tuber. Daikon is commonly used in Asian cuisine, especially in stir-fries and soups (like this Carrot Daikon Stir-fry). I also enjoy them in meatless braises.
Daikon is often served as a condiment in Japanese cuisine. Always pay close attention when ordering sushi at a restaurant. Daikon may be served grated and uncooked. This preparation of daikon is fantastic, at least in modest servings.
If you’re a fan of daikon like I am, you can use the search box to locate all of our delicious daikon-centric recipes, such as the ever-popular Chinese Turnip Cake (lo bak go).
What to Look for When Buying Fresh Daikon from the Market
At the grocery store, search for daikon radishes that:
- Touch firmly but not too firmly.
- Feel the heaviness when you hold them.
- The skin should be bright white and spotless.
- Have a green and healthy-looking stem and leaves (avoid yellowing leaves).
- Leave the root section unbroken if at all possible.
- The green kind of daikon, if found, is sweeter than the white variety.
Preserving Daikon Radish:
There were a couple of daikon radishes that looked a little worn in my fridge. All of us are holed up at home (and Sarah isn’t available to take photos), but I still wanted to share this recipe for preserved daikon radish with you, so I posted it myself.
Keep in mind that we are reducing the number of times we visit the grocery store; therefore, we must make do with less. Pickled, dried, or preserved radishes and turnips are typical Asian snacks. Like capers and olives, they have multiple uses in the kitchen and as a snack.
Preservatives and monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be found in the store-bought variety. The more reasons there are to create this at home, the better! Since you’ll be cooking yourself, you can customize the flavor using the condiments and spices you choose.
- 2 daikon radishes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt
- 1 tablespoon of pickled chili sauce
- 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon of dried chili flakes
TO MAKE PRESERVED DAIKON:
- Clean the radishes with a scrub brush and water. The correct procedure is to NOT peel them. Remove the root ends and any discolored areas from each radish. Make sure you slice them into 1/2-inch by 2-and-a-half-inch strips (1.25 cm x 6.25 cm). Put in a big glass or stainless steel bowl.
- For best results, let the daikon sit in a bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt for at least 2 hours before using.
- As much liquid as possible should be extracted from the daikon after 2 hours. Spread them out on a baking sheet or, better yet, a large colander to allow for maximum airflow. Cover with cheesecloth and put in direct sunlight. Hang outside for two to three days to dry.
- When your daikon have shrunk to half their original size, they are dry enough to use. Squeezing them shouldn’t result in any leaking or dripping, and they should be dry and gentle to the touch.
- Store them in a glass jar like you would for any other condiment, and keep them in the fridge after this. Throw them into any recipe that could benefit from a little salt and crunch, like noodle soups and stir-fries. Just clean them up and chop them before you cook with them.
SEASONING PRESERVED DAIKON:
- Put your daikon in a large pot of boiling water, cover it, and set it aside to cool to room temperature before seasoning. The dried daikon pieces can be rehydrated slightly by rubbing them between your palms in the cooled boiled water, and the excess salt can be washed away as well. Try to extract as much liquid as possible.
- In a clean mixing bowl, toss the daikon cubes with the sugar, sesame oil, light soy sauce, pickled chili sauce, and a pinch of dried chili flakes. Blend thoroughly, cover, and chill in the fridge overnight.
- Serve the Preserved Daikon Radish the following day! This pickled daikon will keep for up to two weeks if stored properly in the refrigerator. Always use a clean implement while dipping into it.