Daikon is a long white root vegetable, which can be found all year around, but the primary season is winter. The vegetable is now available at regular American grocery stores. It has been used in all Asian cuisines, so that it may be found at Chinese, Korean or Indian markets.

You can tell the freshness of the daikon by its greens, but they are usually cut off, unfortunately, to conceal the freshness. If you are lucky enough to find a daikon with fresh green top attached, just buy it. Both root and the greens are edible. Do not buy a soft bendable one, as it is old.

Daikon is versatile. When it’s grated raw, it’s particularly refreshing. It is often used to accompany tempura, grilled fish, steak, or boiled pork. When it’s finely cut like thin vermicelli noodles, it can be used for the display bed of raw fish (sashimi) at restaurants. It also can be pickled in many method.

Stewed daikon.

Stewed daikon.

When it’s cooked in broth, the white flesh turn very soft, and absorbs the soup with its flavor. It is used for buri daikon (yellow tail with daikon stew), miso soup, oden, to name a few.

The skin is always peeled generously, to ensure a uniformed appearance, because the color of flesh right under the skin is slightly different from the internal part, but it is edible.

The greens of the root vegetable tastes slightly peppery. They can be chopped finely and used as ingredients in miso soup, or fried in a pan with a small amount of canola oil, and add soy sauce and shichimi at the end. It tastes great over hot steamy rice.

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