Daikon Radish | Mooli | Japanese Radish | Chinese Turnip
This long white radish is Japan’s most fundamental vegetable and is used widely throughout Asia, SE Asia and India. It is just gaining popularity outside of those countries. Daikon is an ancient Japanese crop and now accounts for about 25% of its vegetable crop. The first Westerner to see a daikon radish is said to be Commodore Matthew Perry of the US Navy, who visited Japan in 1853. He saw radishes weighing 9kg that were nearly 1 metre in length. The sumo champion of Japanese radishes is said to be the Sakurajim Mammoth which can grow to 20kg!
Less extreme versions are 20 – 45 cm in length and are very versatile. Daikon is said to have no calories and to be a great digestive, and is wonderful grated raw with deep fried dishes like Japanese tempura, to counteract the oiliness.
It can be served raw, or cooked where its flavour becomes more turnip-like. Daikon sprouts are a popular garnish and salad ingredient with tender freshness and spiciness.
Look for firm white unwrinkled daikon. To grate daikon, use a Japanese grater or any fine toothed standard grater. Allow the juices to drain away, then squeeze the daikon, either with your fingers or through muslin. Allowing the juices to drain away removes any bitterness in the vegetable.) Mix the grated daikon into salads, make a quick pickle or, or just shape into a small mound and sprinkle with salt.
Our Daikon recipes are here. Highlights include:
Daikon can also be substituted for Red Radish in Salads and other dishes.