Simmered Daikon Radish

Remember that dashi broth concocted for the miso glazed salmon? Ling Li never wastes anything when she cooks :). To round out the Japanese-themed evening, I listened to my inner conscience and added some vegetables to the dinner lineup.

Daikon is a delicious white radish that can be eaten raw or cooked. There are many methods of preparation, ranging from thin pickled slices for Korean ban chan dishes to the Daikon & Pork Bone soup my parents make at home (luo bo tang). I also like simmering the vegetable in a light soy sauce mixture until soft (and then eating it with my soy sauce cornish hen!) My absolute absolute favorite? Turnip cake, aka luo bo gao. Get me a plate of that pan-fried any day at dim sum. Had some unbelievably delicious ones everywhere I went in Hong Kong.

In Japanese cuisine, daikon is often shredded and mixed into ponzu (soy sauce and citrus juice condiment) as a dip. This recipe takes the vegetable and simmers it in a dashi-soy sauce-mirin-sugar broth, finished with a pinch of salt.

Ingredients:
1 lb daikon radish
2 quarts of rice rinsing water
1 piece of kombu (kelp)
3 cups dashi stock
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Scallion (optional, garnish)

Dashi stock ingredients:

1 1/3 oz or 6 inch of kombu (kelp)
4 cups of water

Instructions:

1) Peel the daikon and cut into 1 1/2 inch thick round pieces. Make a shallow criss-cross in one side of each daikon slice.

2) I couldn’t serve a Japanese meal without rice, and I collected 2 quarts of the water used to wash the rice for this recipe (apparently the water from washed rice gives daikon radish a milder taste when cooked). Boil the water and add the daikon. Simmer for 35 minutes.

3) Drain the water. Mix the dashi stock, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and salt in a bowl and add to the pot. Place a piece of kombu (kelp) at the bottom and the daikon on top (I used the kombu from the dashi stock).

4) Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until soft. Arrange daikon slices in a dish and cover with remaining cooking liquid. Garnish with scallion.

How to make dashi stock:

1) Wipe kelp with a damp paper towel. Soak in 4 cups of water for an hour.

2) Bring the water and kelp to the boiling point, but remove the kelp before the water actually boils.

The dish was actually a bit too sweet for my tastes, but the boyfriend liked it. I prefer my vegetables savory and salty when cooked, but I trust that this is a pretty standard Japanese way of cooking daikon since it was included it in my handy dandy recipe book.

Hope you enjoyed this series on Japanese cuisine!

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