At the time of writing, I am in Hawaii, visiting my Mam. It was Mam who inspired me originally in the kitchen, growing up as a Northumbrian lass – she always made the most of whatever we had available at the time. In fact, she still does. I am always intrigued to find what new ingredients she is using, especially now she is in a far away lands.
Fast forward to Hawaii 2019. Here is me & my lovely Mam outside the health food store in Kauai, picking up some essentials…
Daikon is a popular thing here in Hawaii, grown locally. We picked up a few massive roots from the local farmers market last week.
Daikon is essentially a huge, mild, white radish, known in other parts of the world as mooli, winter radish, Japanese radish, Chinese radish or oriental radish. It is said to be an ancient Mediterranean root vegetable, although it was brought to the East around 500 B.C. Daikon comes from two Japanese words: “dai” (large) and “kon” (root). As far as I can tell, it became popular in Hawaii when migrants brought it over from Japan. The Japanese tradition of pickling daikon has been enjoyed here on the islands ever since.
Mam was eager to show me her ‘pickled’ version. Oh my goodness, I am totally in love with the stuff, so I couldn’t resist sharing the recipe here. I remember finding daikon for sale in Glastonbury, England (they were calling it mooli) so I definitely know that it gets around.
Let me take you through this step by step.
First of all, you need to slice your daikon as thinly as possible. Use a sharp knife or mandolin for this…
Next, put it in a bowl and add a tablespoon of sea salt. Give it a light mix and then let it sit for at least a couple of hours (which will help to release the water from the vegetable). If you want to get on with something else and leave it for for a few hours, longer is fine too.
In the meantime, you need to make the brine. For this, you will need a quarter teaspoon of turmeric, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, an eighth cup (2 tablespoons) coconut sugar, half a cup of rice vinegar, half a cup of water. Simmer these ingredients in a saucepan for a few minutes to dissolve the coconut sugar and then put to the side for later.
When you return to your daikon (two hours later or more), you will need to squeeze out the water. The sea salt draws out the water. Squeeze and then discard the excess water.
Next, add the brine to the squeezed daikon. Pour it into a jug and mix in. Then you’ll need to pop the whole mixed daikon into a large glass jar or container with a lid.
If possible, push the daikon below the brine line. If that’s too tricky, then just leave it as it is and place the lid on, before popping it into the fridge to develop over the next few days. Give it a mix or shake a few times (over the first few days) if the daikon is not fully submerged.
It should be ready to enjoy after three days.
The pickled daikon should last for a few weeks in the fridge, although it is pretty more-ish, so if you like it, you will probably get through it a lot quicker. We use it as an addition to salads. It also makes a nice sandwich or wrap filling ingredient and also serves nicely on the side of a main meal.
- 1 large daikon (about 10 inch/25cm long)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- ½ cup of water (125ml)
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- Slice the daikon very thinly, either with a mandolin or sharp knife.
- Put it in a bowl and mix in one tablespoon sea salt. Leave for at least a couple of hours. The salt will help the liquid to release from the daikon.
- In the meantime make the 'brine' liquid in a pan. To make the liquid add the water, coconut sugar, rice vinegar, ground turmeric and black pepper. Simmer the liquid for a few minutes, until the coconut sugar dissolves into the liquid. Once done, put this mixture to the side to cool for later.
- When the daikon has been left for least two hours with the salt, then use your hands to squeeze the water out. Discard the excess water.
- Next, mix the squeezed daikon with the turmeric 'brine' liquid.
- Put the mixed daikon, with liquid into a glass jar. Pop a lid on, then leave it in the fridge for at least three days. This allows the flavours to combine. If the daikon is not quite submerged fully under the brine, then give the jar a shake a few times over this period of days to allow everything to infuse evenly.
- Store in the fridge. Use within a few weeks.
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