This recipe for Pickled Daikon radish that I am sharing with you is the most delicious Daikon tsukemono that I have ever tasted. I am not exaggerating. I have grown up with eating tsukemono in every meal. So in my humble opinion, this is the best ever pickled daikon.
What is Daikon?
Daikon (大根) literally means Big roots. It is a large white radish which primarily grows in the east and south-east Asia. Japanese use Daikon in cooking in a variety of ways. For instance, in Oden (fish cake stew), Miso Soup, Kouhaku Namasu (radish and carrot vinaigrette salad), Rafute (Okinawa braised pork belly) and garnishing grated daikon for Tempura and Tataki.
Where can you get Daikon?
The English language has adopted “Daikon Radish”. The organic market or local farmers markets that I often go to on the weekends sell them. They are simply labelled as Daikon. Also, Japanese grocery and Asian grocery stores certainly have them in winter.
How to prepare the radish for Pickled Daikon?
My aunt Keiko is really good at home cooking. Every time I go back to Japan, I visit my uncle and aunt in Ise city where the famous Ise shrine is. They always welcome us with serving delicious Japanese dishes such as Sukiyaki with melt in the mouth (and expensive) Matsusaka Beef!
Aunt Keiko told me that she usually uses 5-10 kg of Daikon to pickle. She says she prepares Tsukemono in bulk because it makes it more delicious. However, all of the vegetables are ginormous compared to its size, but Daikon is actually smaller. I only managed to get about 1kg. So I had to adjust her recipe to suit this small amount.
Slice the Daikon to about 3-5mm (0.1-0.2 inch) thick strips. I use a ceramic slicer which allows me to set the desired thickness. I set it at 3mm (0.1inch). Aunt Keiko told me to slice to 5mm (0.2 inches) but my slicer’s maximum thickness is 3mm (0.1 inch). This, however, doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Tips to make Pickled Daikon successfully
I asked her for the recipe and she said the temperature is the most important factor to make this pickled daikon radish so delicious. She said the temperature should be around 9°C (48°F). It is winter in Brisbane now and the temperature has been around 8-14 so I decided to make this pickled Daikon radish.
2. Adding Umami flavour to the Pickled Daikon
Once the sliced daikon has been covered with salt for 7-8 hours, and the vinaigrette is ready, then it is time to layer nicely with umami flavour. The two to use are “Ito konbu” and “Katsuobushi”. Ito Konbu is thinly cut kelp threads and Katsuobushi is bonito flake. Both of them are available from Japanese grocery stores or Asian grocery stores.
After you pickled the daikon, leave it for a week. Since making my last batch, I have been eating it as a side dish and even as a snack sometimes. I really love pickled daikon radish! If you liked this Tsukemono recipe from my aunt, please rate the recipe and leave comments below.
Mottainai (NO waste)
Mottainai is a Japanese concept of regret concerning waste. When you buy Daikon with leaves attached, do not discard the leaves. Japanese people eat the leaves as well because you can make another dish out of it so there is no waste! Chop up the leaves about 1cm (0.4 inch) and fry them with 1/2 tsp of sesame seed oil. After that, add 1 tsp of soy sauce, mirin and sugar to make stir fry daikon leaves and add bonito flakes and white sesame seeds. You’ll be surprised at how tasty it is.
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- 1 kg Daikon Radish
- 50 g salt
- 54 ml rice vinegar
- 9 ml mirin
- 100 g sugar
- 15 g bonito flake
- 15 g threaded kelp
- Wash the daikon radish and slice it about 15cm long and 5mm thickness.
- Sprinkle salt over the sliced daikon and toss them to evenly coat daikon with salt.
- Leave it for 6-7 hours.
- Combine the rice vinegar, mirin, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring it to boil over medium heat, when all the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat off and let it cool down.
- After 6-7 hours, drain and squeeze out the excess water off the sliced daikon radish. ( do not wash them )
- Lay the daikon radish into a large container and sprinkle a little bit of bonito flake, kelp, and vinegar mixture. Repeat the process until all the ingredients are used.
- Leave it in room temperature for a week.