Daikon Radish

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The Daikon Radish

 

The Daikon radish goes by a number of names depending on where it is being grown. The term “daikon” comes from the Japanese and literally means “large root.” It is also called the Japanese radish, Chinese Radish and lo bok, among other names. The root vegetable is best known for its connection with Japanese culture although it originated on the mainland of Asia.

 

Appearance

The daikon is a white radish that grows in a variety of shapes, depending on the variety. Some varieties produce a long slender root while others feature a rounder root that appear more like a large white standard radish. The leaves are long and form on both sides of stems that grow from the crown of the root. The leaves resemble a dandelion plant and are edible.

Harvesting and Cooking with Daikon

The daikon radish should be harvested before the leaves begin to mature. Plants left to grow too long often result in a woody texture with a strong taste. Remove the roots from the ground utilizing a garden fork or shovel. Trim the greens or leaves before storage. Wash any soil from the roots before utilization.

Daikon radishes are consumed raw, pickled and sometimes cooked. Some raw uses include adding shredded daikon radishes to ponzu to form a dip. It is shredded and simmered with other ingredients in oriental dishes such as oden.

The Chinese utilize daikon in several dishes including the rather improperly named turnip cake. Korean chefs produce nabak kimchi, soup made from daikon and other vegetables and spices. Philippine cooks also produce a soup known sinigang.

Several cultures utilize the greens or leaves of the daikon radish. These leaves are often harvested at the same time the root is lifted. Only the leafy portion is used with any hard stems discarded. The leaves can be cooked like any other green.

Storing Daikon

Fresh daikon radish roots can be kept in cool dry places for up to two or three weeks without problems. Trim the leaves from the roots before storage. Shredding the roots and dehydrating is a common oriental method of storage and can extend the life of the roots for months, depending on storage conditions.

Nutrition

Daikon is a relatively low calorie content. Consumers generally considered a healthy food with a high content of fiber for its caloric content. This is important for consumers watching their diet in an effort to reduce or control their weight. The radish is known to contain vitamin A.

Here’s a picture of one in the store as you find them: Picture of Daikon

What is your favorite way to prepare daikon? Check out these Daikon Recipes at Your Lighter Side?

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Comments

  1. Would it be possible for you to post a picture of one? I’d love to try it, but I looked at my local grocery and could not find one.

    • Hi there! I added a link to a picture of one at the end of the article. I hope that helps. I searched my pictures and never seem to have taken pictures of one. That surprises me.

  2. Charmaine says:

    Here in Singapore we use daikon in soups all the time. Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw your daikon fries recipe! Gorgeous pictures, by the way. I definitely have to try that :-)

  3. I have asked in every grocery store and produce market around here and nobody seems to know what I am talking about!

  4. I am a well-known face at our local Vietnamese grocery store. They are a good “crunch” that I sometimes miss in LC. They never quite get the mouth-feel of a potato but they are a fantastic substitute (and make AWESOME noodles for stir-fry!)

    • I’d be interested to try noodles made from daikon, but is this something that can be found in an Asian supermarket or must they be made from scratch?

      • Hi, Robert. Good question! I am not sure. I almost think they’d fall apart if they were in long, thin strips, due to their starchy nature, but I could be wrong. It’s happened once before (or twice).

    • Well, there’s the answer to Robert’s question! I never would have thought of using them as noodles. Now I want to try this! Thank you, Mari.

  5. i used then in my veggie soup

  6. icicle radish they call them here

  7. Thanks for the info! The picture kind of remind me of a white carrot.

  8. Hi Jaime, I was wondering how you pick out a good daikon radish. I recently saw them at the grocery store but they felt a bit soft. Are they supposed to be firm like a potato or carrot?

    • Hi there! If there’s no shrinkage around the edges and it looks fine, I’d buy it. It’s only when they’re floppy and flaccid that I tend to worry. I have had a daikon for long enough that it began to bend quite a lot. :^o I like veggies to bend to my will, but not that way!

  9. I recently bought a daikon to experiment with and while what I tried making was edible (home fries and a hash brown casserole) I found the daikon to be earthy and still retained a crunch even after baking. I’m wondering whether boiling them first would help take some of the “crunch” and “earthy” out. What are your thoughts? And congratulations on the 100 pounds! :)

    • Thank you so much! I feel so much lighter right now; it’s insane. I can’t even lift 100 pounds; I can’t believe I weighed that much more.

      Per the daikon, you are right! The boiling removes some of the crunch and gaminess. Minimally, soaking the sliced or diced veg in salted cold water and then draining well removes some of the starch, but I prefer to pre-boil whenever possible.

  10. Anne Marie says:

    I live in South Korea, and the daikon radish is an iconic part of the culture. They have stuffed animal daikons, I have seen daikon characters on TV commercials, they LOVE their daikon radish. When you order fried chicken here, it always comes with a little plastic box of cubed pickled daikons. Always in the supermarkets–wish I could say the same about good cheese or sugar substitutes.

  11. Could you post a picture of one? I think we have them in Germany. I am going to visit my family in May and I’ll check on it.

  12. Marianne says:

    Daikon radishes are called “mooli” in some parts of the world. That may help some of you locate it if no one seems to know what “daikon” is.

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