Your Practical guide to picking and Cooking Daikon
As part of my Veggies – past the ick and on to the yum series, we will first visit the vegetable that inspired me to write this blog. The white radish, known as daikon, is commonly eaten by many Asian cultures and in many ways. I have had it in Indian sambar, a spicy lentil stew or soup, pickled, cultured, stir-fried, and even raw. Next time you go to the grocery store, look for it as it may astound you – it can get really big!
Picking and Preparing
This radish looks a lot different from the little red radish you commonly see by the bunch or bag. It is either torpedo-shaped or cylindrical and can be up to 2 feet long and 3 inches in diameter. The outside may look a bit dirty, but don’t worry. Once you get it home, you can use your vegetable peeler to remove that outer dirty part just like you’d peel a carrot, and what you will see is a snow white firm flesh. Just make sure to choose one that is firm, the same way you’d choose any other type of radish.
Then depending on what you want to do with it, you can slice it thickly or thinly, or shred it. I like to do 1/4″ slices cut into half circles for stir-fry, and 1/2″ slices for a soup or stew. Try shredding it onto a salad like a carrot.
This radish is very mild. The common red radish is definitely spicier. That makes daikon a great choice for those who like a crisp veggie in their stir fry but that can turn tender when cooked.
Why Eat This Thing? – The Health Benefits
Daikon root is a powerfully healthy food. Most of all it aids digestion because it’s full of beneficial enzymes that break down fats and proteins. Secondly, it’s full of important nutrients especially vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous. Thirdly, it’s an awesome detoxifier. Daikon root has been found to neutralize the effects of a common carcinogen called nitrosamine, thus aiding in protecting against cancer. Not only does it help rid the body of toxins, but it’s also decongesting and diuretic when eaten raw, while also aiding in regulating blood pressure.
The easiest way to incorporate this crazy-good-for-you veggie is to just peel, slice, and stir fry it along with your other go-to stir-fry veggies such as bell pepper, carrot, and broccoli or bok choy.
For the more adventurous, or those interested in really enhancing its digestive benefits, please try this simple lacto-fermentation recipe. The ingredient list is short, and it’s much easier than you think it is.
Lastly, another very no-brainer choice is to simply chunk it and cook it like carrots into your soup or stew. I’ve even roasted it with other root veggies!
Here’s a picture of a meal I made that includes stir-fried daikon.
Check out my other post about how to cook Zucchini.