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Perhaps you've spotted it in the produce aisle at your local grocery store or stumbled upon it at Asian food markets. You wonder: what on earth is that vegetable that looks like a giant white carrot? Well, it's daikon radish and has been enjoyed in Asia for centuries – from India and China to Japan and beyond.
So what exactly is daikon radish? What does it taste like? How should it be prepped? Most importantly, how should it be cooked? Let's find out.
What Is Daikon Radish?
As you may have already guessed by its looks, daikon radish is a root. Its texture is somewhat similar to a carrot but the flavour is perceptibly spicier, like a blend of ginger and red radish.
Daikon radish is almost touted as a super food given its multitude of health benefits. For starters, it is low in calories and has zero fat. This hearty vegetable has the capacity to boost metabolism and combat bloating due to its diuretic properties.
How To Cook Daikon
Daikon radish is widely enjoyed in Japan where it is often served raw to accompany fried foods. In this case it is used as a digestive aid.
To serve raw daikon radish simply slice it in rounds or grate it the same way you would carrots. It's also delicious with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt.
Steaming Daikon Radish
If you want to cook daikon radish steaming is one of the best methods to ensure its nutrients are preserved. After it has softened you may add it to salads and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil for flavour. Steamed radish also makes a great side dish for fish.
Daikon Radish Soup
A soup made from daikon radish? It's possible and totally delicious.
Before making soup you should know that the longer you cook daikon the less pungent it becomes. So it's best to add it to the pot towards the end of the cooking process when all the other vegetables are tender and cook for just a few more minutes. Then it's up to you if you want to enjoy a chunky vegetable soup or a silky puree.
Daikon Radish Au Gratin
Make a killer batch of scalloped potatoes by adding sliced daikon to the mix. Arrange the vegetables in a casserole, cover with a creamy bechamel sauce and bake as usual.
Daikon Radish Instead of Rice
Some vegans are enjoying a healthier version of rice by grating daikon radish into tiny pearls or pulsing it in a food processor.
Daikon 'rice' is a great base for salads – just toss with your favourite veggies and vinaigrette.
Daikon Radish in Kimchi
If you are in the mood for homemade kimchi, try adding grated daikon to your recipe instead of cabbage. Or use both to make an awesome kimchi with a twist.
Fried Daikon Radish
Do you find fried foods irresistible? The daikon radish shouldn't be an exception. It can be fried just like potatoes. Simply decide on the cut and go for it.
Looking for other new ingredients? Give jackfruit a try.