Exotic Foods: Daikon Radish

As I have mentioned in prior posts, Frank and I joined a CSA this year, and we have been cooking primarily with what we receive each week in our haul. This is only the second time we walked away with Daikon Radishes, something I find a bit challenging to work with. Many people are familiar with daikons being used in raw green salads, or being turned into kimchi. I don't necessarily want to make a condiment with my CSA vegetables, so both times I have managed to incorporate them into main-dish items. Daikon radishes are low in calories and high in fiber, as shown in the detailed nutrition breakdown here . Rebecca Wood, on her website, states,
Daikon cleanses the blood, promotes energy circulation and increases the metabolic rate. It contains diuretics, decongestants and, in terms of phytochemicals, the digestive enzymes diastase, amylase and esterase. This makes it a primary ingredient in a great variety of home remedies. Regular use of daikon helps prevent the common cold, flu and respiratory infections. Daikon treats hangovers, sore throats, colds and edema, and it helps cleanse the kidneys and decongest the lungs. This restorative vegetable also has anticarcinogenic properties'.
Pretty amazing, right? Imagine pairing this with dandelion greens in the same meal! I am sure that many of you have had your hands on daikon and not been quite sure what to do with them, so I would like to share what Frank and I have done.

The first dish that we made a couple of months back was the Shredded Parsnip and Beet salad from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, subbing in daikon for the parsnip. While parsnips are sweeter than daikon, the spicy daikon paired with earthy red beets and a sweet pineapple viniagrette was a great mid-summer all raw meal, as we made fresh pineapple juice for the dressing. We paired this with salad greens as well. I think that adding in walnuts or pecans would also be a wonderful addition to this salad. Imagine if you actually put in the parsnip too!

Tonite, Frank had the pleasure of cooking a daikon-based meal without me around to be the horrible backseat chef that I am, and the results were great. I recently purchased Vegan Fire and Spice by Robin Robertson, so we adapted her Asparagus Daikon Salad and made Broccoli-Daikon Salad served with bulgur. Frank inadvertently increased the cayenne pepper to 1 tsp for a double portion of the salad versus 1/2 tsp, but probably because it was paired with bulgur, the salad was not overly spicy. The daikon in this dish is simply cut and mixed in with the steamed broccoli, so everything comes together quickly for nites when a short cooking and eating time is needed. As you can see, it looks very beautiful in a red bowl! Simple and nourishing, this was a wonderful, quick early fall dish. When spring arrives and asparagus is less expensive, we will definitely try it as it was written in the book.

And don't think that you only have to eat daikon radish raw! It can be cooked into numerous Asian dishes, becoming tender and flavorful when treated this way. Here's to experimentation in the kitchen!


Smacky Tomato said...
5:13 PM, October 06, 2009

Looks good! Happy MoFoing!

melissa bastian. said...
2:35 PM, October 12, 2009

I have to admit that this is a vegetable I am afraid of. Perhaps I will have to get brave. After all, chances are I've probably eaten it in a restaurant and not known it, right?

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