Care of Amy Symington
Often referred to as a Japanese radish, daikon, although widely renowned for its role in Japanese cuisine, is far from restricted to the far East.
“Radish,” however, is properly used in describing this pungent root vegetable. It has a mild, yet sharp and slightly spicy flavour. Its long, leafy green tops are followed by a shiny yellowish-white flesh. Its shape is that of a large, plump carrot.
Eaten cooked, raw or pickled to perfection, good quality daikon should have a firm and smooth skin. Although most commonly known as a traditional Japanese ingredient, daikon is becoming more and more main stream. It frequents the Asian fusion scene as well as making repeated appearances on the plate of health conscious noshers. Used in sushi, soups, stews, spring rolls, slaws and salads – say that 10 times fast – daikon is very low in caloric value yet high in nutritional value, which means bulking up on vitamins and minerals without growing a daikonic belly. It’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol and is a good source of Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus. It’s also a very good source of dietary fibre and Vitamin C as well as Folate, Potassium and Copper…oh my!
Culinary wise, there is an array of varying ways to fancify this wholesome veggie. It mingles well in anything from a soba noodle soup to a spicy tofu dish to going completely solo as a decadent battered side. Also keep in mind the nutrient dense sprouts of the daikon are no stranger to the garnish world and are fit atop any salad or stir-fry. Daikon-licious!