Daikon is a large white radish that has not likely made an appearance in your kitchen. It’s admittedly quite odd: sometimes 6-inches long, sometimes almost two feet, with slightly spiky leaves, and it has a pungent smell and flavor that might turn most folks off. But, if you can get past these slightly negative characteristics, you will be happy to know that daikon is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat! It’s wackiness is also part of it’s versatility- it can be used in soups, pickles, salads, and solo. It can also be drunk as a juice or tonic for incredible detoxification effects.
This humble vegetable, traditionally prepared in many Asian countries, has a myriad of health benefits. It’s high in calcium, vitamin C and A, but also helps prevent inflammation, helps avoid cancer, aids digestion and elimination, detoxifies the kidneys, and helps dissolve phlegm and mucus in the body. Additionally, according to this site, “raw daikon is abundant in digestive enzymes similar to the ones in the human digestive tract. [Diastase], amylase, and esterase are known to transform complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins into compounds that is easy to assimilate.” Basically, it’s a nutritional powerhouse and it’s something we should try to incorporate into our diets. Though it’s definitely edible raw, it is probably too strong for most people. While the daikon is whole the smell is mild, but when chopped or grated the smell can be overwhelming. Simply put- it will make your fridge smell like farts, there is no other way to say it!
However, this simple Daikon & Carrot Salad is an easy preparation, and the ratio of carrots to daikon is high, so it cuts some of the bitterness- and once it’s prepared as follows the daikon will not stink up the fridge!
Daikon & Carrot Salad
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup shredded daikon
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup finely chopped green onion
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon Nama shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce)
1 teaspoon honey
- Add carrots and daikon to a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and toss to combine. Cover with a plate and weigh down with heavy bottles, pans, etc. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Remove weights and strain vegetables. Rinse vegetables with clean water. Squeeze out excess water. Transfer to another large bowl and toss with remaining ingredients.
- Serve on it’s own or tossed with cabbage, kale or other greens. Enjoy!
Yields: 3-4 Servings
For other helpful”What do you do with…” posts:
- What do you do with… Eggplant (part one)?
- What do you do with… Eggplant (part two)?
- What do you do with… Amaranth?
- What do you do with… Black rice?
- What do you do with … Dried Mushrooms
- What do you do with … Chickpea Flour?
Daikon photo from http://www.photo-dictionary.com/phrase/9704/daikon-raddish.html
I never cooked with daikon. I will have to experiment although I’m not sure where I would find it.
Hi Joanne- If you have Asian markets in your ‘hood those would be the best place; farmer’s markets would be a good bet too. If you really can’t find it, use daikon’s smaller, pinker sister, the red radish. Good luck!
Ooh I love daikon! This salad sounds similar to the recipe I use to make quick daikon pickles, but with less vinegar, of course. :) I also like it cubed up and roasted. It gets mild and a little sweet in the oven.