Roots and Radishes – OR — Help! What do I do with a daikon radish!

Even though I’ve been around the Oklahoma Food Cooperative from the beginning, I am continually amazed and delighted at the progress of our developing local food system.

This month I am seeing lots of roots and radishes, and different kinds of radishes too.

When it comes to radishes, I think a lot of us are in a rut.  We think about cutting them up and putting them in a salad. We might trim them and put them out with a dip, but that’s it.  The idea of actually cooking with a radish is foreign to many of our home cuisines. Well, I’m telling you right now, if you haven’t had fried radishes you are missing some great eating!  I like mine at breakfast, and I also like them at dinner, and I like them also at supper. Last night we had fried radishes to go with our Oklahoma tenderized round steak.  To fry radishes, I slice them thinly, and then fry them with just a bit of onion and garlic, and of course, as I always do, crushed red pepper. I fry them well done, to the point where they are just starting to caramelize.

You know you need five servings for veggies every day.  So why not substitute fried radishes for potatoes at breakfast?  They are LOW CARB — which is important if (a) you are trying to lose weight and/or (b) you are diabetic. Radishes keep really well. I typically trim the greens and then refrigerate them.

Try this — baked radish chips!

Don’t forget to order some daikon radishes, which are available in COPIOUS quantities this month. What is a daikon radish you say? It is a large white root.  Daikon means “large root” in Japanese. It is a staple of Asian cuisines and is tasty and very healthy, loaded with vitamins and only ONE CARB per serving (about a 2 inch chunk).  15 calories.  No sodium.

What to do with a daikon radish? Let us count the ways. . .

Eat them raw. . .

  • Cut into sticks like a carrot,
  • Slice them thinly crosswise into rounds, soak in water, and they curl into crispy little chips,  serve with a dip.
  • Julienne them and add to salads,
  • Mix some thin slices of daikon and cucumber and onions (use red onions for a nice flare). Dress with a sweet and sour dressing (vinegar and some honey) or with vinegar and olive oil. Add some crushed garlic. Let marinate for a while.
  • Grate it finely and add some soy sauce and hot chili sauce, use as a side relish for fish.
  • Devil it, by grating it coarsely, adding some finely minced onion and celery, sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper, add mayo and dijon mustard.
  • DO CHUA! (Pronounced Do Choo-wa.) Make PICKLED DAIKON!  If you’ve been to the Ban Mi Bahle Vietnamese sandwich shop in Okie City, or a similar establishment elsewhere, you’ve encountered the famous Vietnamese daikon pickles.  Here is a recipe to easily make your own — Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles .  Here is another recipe, from a Vietnamese publication, which notes that Do Chua should be kept in the refrigerator.  Viet World Kitchen Recipe There is a big difference in these two recipes in terms of the amount of sugar, so I suspect it is “to taste”. As with any pickle, the longer it sits, the more sour it gets. You could try honey, molasses, or a bit of fruit butter instead of the sugar if you are avoiding refined sugars (as we all should be, lol).
  • Make Daikon slaw! Use your favorite coleslaw recipe, substitute shredded daikon for all or part of the cabbage.

Ways to serve COOKED daikon. . .

OK, that should be enough to give you some ideas.  Eat what is available, is one of the most basic rules of a local food system. So why not expand our ideas about what to do with radishes food-wise, and add the delicious and versatile daikon radish to our tables this month!  Pair these with any of our great meats and other delicious foods, and you have healthy and nutritious meals that taste good.  What’s not to like about this!

Y’all bon appetit, you hear?


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