D & J Produce's stall at the market is stacked with gorgeous white Daikon but more shoppers pick it up and look at it quizzically than actually buy it, unsure what to do with this long white tuber. Daikon is Japanese for "great root." This great root is a staple in Asian kitchens, precisely because of its versatility: both raw and cooked. Shredded or julienned Daikon radish can add crunch to a green salad or a bit of spice to a slaw. It's distinct crunchy texture makes it a natural for pickled dishes like kimchi where it is often mixed with carrots. Slice Daikon radish into rounds and bake at a very low temperature to make Daikon chips. Because it's earthy and slightly bitter it's just right for curries and soups. You can pretty much substitute Daikon for turnips in any recipe.
Daikon is available year-round, but winter crops tastes best. From a health standpoint, it is high in enzymes that aid in the digestion of fat and starch, and is packed with vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus. Daikon radish has also been shown to help with migraine relief. It's popular among Chinese herbalists who boil it with seaweed as a digestive tonic.
Last year Saveur Magazine put together thiscollection of Daikon recipes including this delicious Daikon curry (below).
Pick some up this weekend and have fun experimenting.. You'll need a sharp knife to slice your Daikon...good thing the knife sharpener is here. Also bring your quilting scissors, and - for you eternal optimists - pruning shears.
See you at the market!