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What is daikon?

Daikon is an Asian radish with a sweet and spicy flavor. It is an essential ingredient in Asian cooking and the most popular vegetable in Japan.

The literal translation from the Japanese is "big root." On a lucky day, walking through an Asian market or Japantown, you might come across a daikon as fat as a Wiffle ball bat. The most common variety of daikon, however, looks like a turnip or white carrot, and that's probably the kind you'll find near the fresh ginger in the grocery store produce aisle.

Daikon is often grated and/or pickled and served as a garnish for sushi or noodle soups. It's a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, stir-fried, baked, grilled and simmered in soup.

Here's a little Japanese secret: to preserve its color and bite, cook daikon in water in which rice has been washed. Shouldn't have eaten that last spider roll? Eat a bite of raw daikon as a digestive. Feeling like your daily tempura lunch is taking a toll on your figure? Daikon is believed to be a weight loss aid, as well.

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