Ingredient Introduction #22 – Daikon

This is an item I’ve wanted to try since seeing it on the show Chopped.

It’s as white as purity in the flesh, but in the grocery store it’s obscene-like, laid out on the produce shelf. It’s long and narrow, nearly the size of a rolling pin.

After many, many months of passing it by, I found it, more manageable in size, in my favorite booth at the farmers’ market.

Behold the daikon!

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The farm-fresh, locally-grown version resembles a thick carrot or parsnip.

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A daikon (dye-con) is a long radish used in Asian cuisine. The name is Japanese: dai for long, kon for root.

It can get up to 15 inches long!

The flavor is mildly sweet, and earthy. It kind of reminded me of a mushroom. It’s very crunchy, like a typical radish

Peel it before eating.

The most common way to use it is to make a pickle, so that’s what I did.

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I peeled one daikon.

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Sliced it into coins.

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Then, I sliced the coins into matchsticks.

Put the sticks in a jar, then add:

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. simple syrup
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 big pinches of salt
2 garlic cloves broken open
2 nickel-thick slices of fresh ginger

Put the top on the jar, shake, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Mine sat for about ten hours.

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I used simple syrup because the sugar is already dissolved. You can use 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and stir vigorously, but it might not dissolve all the way.

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You can use these pickles as a topping on any sandwich or burger.

I went the traditional route and used them for a banh-mi.

Banh-mi is really a Vietnamese term for bread, but it’s used to describe a sandwich made with fatty meat (like pâté or pork belly), cilantro, pickled vegetables, and mayo all enveloped in good, baguette-like bread.

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I didn’t have the fatty meats on hand, but I did have shrimp. To creat a texture variation, and just because it’s too darn good, I opted for crispy shallow-fried shrimp.

Because I used the crispy shrimp, the sandwich reminded me a bit of a Po’ boy.

So I give you the Po’ Mi:

2 good rolls. Use French bread, or even Cuban sandwich-style bread
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup of Panko
1 Tbsp. flour
2 egg whites
1/2 inch of canola oil in a frying pan
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 carrot peeled into ribbons
Daikon pickles, drained
7-8 Basil leaves, sliced
Handful of spinach leaves
Spicy mayo (2 Tbsp. mayo + 1 Tbsp Sriracha)
Soy glaze (2 Tbsp. honey + 1 Tbsp. soy sauce)

Combine the Panko, flour, garlic powder, ginger, and a big pinch of salt on a plate. Dip the shrimp in the egg whites, then dip into the Panko mixture.

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Fry in about a half inch of canola oil until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Slice open the rolls and warm in a 400 degree oven for not more than 5 minutes.

Slather both sides of the roll with the spicy mayo. Line the bottom of the roll with the spinach, the basil slices, carrot ribbons, and good helping of daikon pickles, and 6 shrimp. Drizzle with the soy glaze. Dot the shrimp with Sriracha.

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Top with other side of the roll. Cut in half.

Rather than pickling carrots (traditional), I used the raw ribbons. They’re colorful, and sweet, and let the daikon pickle shine.

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I hate cilantro (traditional), so I opted for basil. It’s similarly bright and fresh.

I LOVED this sandwich.

The bread was crispy. The shrimp was crunchy, and delicately sweet. The daikon was vinegary, and matched the kick from the spicy mayo. The soy glaze balanced the sweetness.

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My Po’ Mi was as colorful as it was flavorful. And it highlighted the daikon perfectly! I can’t wait to make this again!

If you don’t like shrimp, use pork tenderloin or ham.

Discover the daikon, especially into can find it at the farmers’ market.

It would be great in a salad, and it’s the perfect pickle. I promise.


Tip: You can also roast the daikon. Peel it, then cube it. Rub in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast at 425 for about 25 minutes. Flip it often so it doesn’t burn. The radish will caramelize, and be much sweeter. It falls into the roasted rutabaga category for me, and that’s excellent!

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