Daikon, pronounced “di-kun,” is a type of radish that is gaining popularity because of its wide variety of uses in culinary dishes.
Daikon carries two uses: One in the leafy greens atop the root and the root itself.
For some, the flavor of a radish is a little too potent, especially in larger quantities.
But this type of radish has a mild flavor and subtle smell when cooked -- almost giving off a sort of nutty, zesty flavor upon your first nibble, yet it still has the crunch that radishes provide.
A raw daikon will provide bitterness just like any other radish.
The off-white colored daikon is most popular in the U.S., but the round varieties have purple, red, pink, green or black flesh.
When I first encountered a daikon radish it reminded me of a parsnip because it looks very similar in shape, coloring and size.
It may collect dirt since it is a tuber, or root vegetable, so remember this for storage and preparation.
Also, it might be preferable to peel the outside skin off to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Storing daikon is relatively easy as they like cool, dry places. It would be fine in the refrigerator or elsewhere that applies.
I’ll be honest. I haven’t seen daikon at a King Soopers, Sprouts or other traditional supermarkets.
You might have more luck at a specialty store like Asian markets or Whole Foods when in season.
It is often called “bio-drill” because its root growth can loosen up compacted soil.
If you choose to cultivate some daikon, growing them over the summer can create a “hot” or “spicy” radish flavor, whereas growing them over the fall/winter time will produce a milder flavor.
Note that the top portion will be a sweeter flavor while the bottom will tend to be bitter.
Daikon provides fiber and vitamin A, C, and E in the leaves and the root. The cooked leaves are often substituted for kale or Swiss chard.
The use of daikon is very wide, as you can eat it raw, cook it, boil it, steam it; you name it and you could probably do it.
I’ve seen it used grated or thinly sliced into matchsticks in a salad or soup. It’s also frequently pickled and used as garnish or as a side dish. Slaws are also very popular.
Using daikon as noodles in vegetable ribbon pasta or as chips puts a unique twist on the application of this vegetable.
This technique can be done by thinly slicing the daikon into either matchsticks or thin, chip-like pieces and using those pieces for dipping into hummus.
Here are a few recipes that incorporate Daikon:
Also, an easy recipe to pickle radish:
Ridgeway, Sue. Daikon Radish. Sonoma County Master Gardeners, University of California. 2013. Retrieved from: http://ucanr.edu/sites/scmg/The_Kitchen_Garden/Feature_Vegetables/Daikon/
Sundermeier, Alan. Oilseed Radish Cover Crop. Ohio State University Extension. 2008. Retrieved from: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs142p2_021573.pdf
Cami Martin is a junior at Metropolitan State University of Denver, majoring in Human Nutrition-Dietetics. Cami is passionate about childhood nutrition and wishes to impact this area during her journeys. In her free time, she escapes to the mountains near Denver to engage in outdoor activities. She also enjoys volunteering within the community and cooking.