When I think of a winter veggie, the first thing that comes to mind is daikon, or Japanese white radish. It is available throughout the year, but it gets extra mild and sweet during the cold winter season. Radish root comes in different shapes, color and sizes, but the most popular radish in Japan is the daikon radish which is shaped almost like the carrot root and is white in color. This variety is typically about 12 to 18 inches in length but can grow up to three feet long. The texture is like that of turnips, firm and crunchy when eaten raw, and the pungency varies from mild to sharp depending on the type and the season that it is harvested.
Daikon definitely holds a special place in Japanese cuisine. You can find many different types of pickles made with daikon such as “takuan” and “bettarazuke.” It is also frequently grated and mixed into ponzu as a condiment to many kinds of dishes. Daikon can be simmered as in oden or it can be eaten raw, julienned in salads. Traditionally, it has been shredded and dried to make “kiriboshi” daikon. Even the sprouts are popular today, known as “kaiware” daikon.
I can go on and on about its nutrition as well. Daikon is rich in vitamins C and B, which are mainly responsible for its anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. It is also an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron, copper, sulfur, phosphorus and fiber, while it is very low in calories and cholesterol. The juice of the daikon actually promotes digestion, especially of high-fat foods. That is why for centuries grated daikon has been served with tempura or oily grilled fish. It is a real super food.
I am sharing a rather untraditional recipe today which I created in my kitchen. It is a beautifully white potage made with daikon. The taste is so sweet and is soothing. The thinner you slice the daikon, the less time it will take to prepare the dish. Make yourself a nice pot of this comforting soup on a chilly night. It will not only warm and satisfy you but will keep the doctor away this winter.
Simple Daikon Potage (2-3 servings)
Ingredients: 200g daikon 400cc water 100cc milk 2 tsp consommé bouillon Salt and white pepper to taste
1) Slice the daikon thinly. 2) In a pot, add water, daikon, and consommé and put on medium heat. 3) Once it boils, let simmer for 20 minutes or until the daikon is tender. 4) Use a hand blender or put the contents of the pot into a food processor to make into a loose paste. 5) Place the blended daikon soup back in the pot and add milk. Put on low heat. 6) Add salt and white pepper to taste. 7) Serve hot.© Japan Today