Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Daikon (or mouli or white radish, as you may know it) is one of my favourite vegetables.
You can eat the whole plant, not just the white root but also the leaves. Daikon root can be eaten raw, simmered, stewed, baked or roasted - it's also a great source of fibre, vitamin c and copper. You can cut up the leaves and eat them in a stir fry or a stew - just think of them as a substitute for spinach or kale - like those two leaves, daikon leaves are full of iron as well!
Not only is daikon good for you, it is also easy to grow, even for the most amateur of gardeners like me (just remember to keep them well watered). I bought my seeds from a reputable supplier and planted them in mid-april. Even with the rotten spring weather we had this year (yes, it's easy to forget spring was a washout, isnt it), they were pushing their stems out of the compost in a week and already 5cm tall by the following week. To grow nice, straight daikon (and let's face it, nobody likes a wonky daikon, do they) , you need a good, deep bed to plant them in so this year I invested in a raised planting bed to give them more space to grow. They went out after 3 weeks inside in pots into a bed filled with fresh compost mixed with poorer soil from another part of the garden. One week later, they were shooting up in the sunshine and - great news - not being bothered by slugs, snails or anything else.
After another 3 weeks, I chose the best 6 seedlings and planted them in a raised container and within a fortnight, they were doing really well, putting on lots of leaf. One month later, and I was harvesting my first, fat, white daikon roots! I planted a second batch about 6 weeks after the first. The picture on the right shows how much growth daikon puts on once it has established. You can watch my Youtube tutorial by clicking How to grow Daikon or scroll to the bottom of the page.
So, what have I been making with this manna from the garden? For starters, here's a simple recipe for a lovely raw vegetable dish in a marinade.
200g raw daikon (white radish)
1 tbsp rice wine
1 tsp mirin
2 tsps white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 spring onion
cut the daikon into matchstick sized lengths, sprinkle with the salt and set aside.
put the rice vinegar, mirin and sugar in a saucepan and simmer gently while stirring until the sugar has dissolved
pour the liquid over the daikon and refridgerate for at least 1 hour
serve with some chopped spring onions (shiso makes a nice alternative as well) as a garnish.
eat as a side dish along with some white rice. the daikon will last 3 to 4 days in the fridge. once you've finished it, you can use any leftover marinade as a salad dressing. I'll be posting some more daikon recipes soon, so keep your eyes peeled. (Sorry, awful pun!)
Happy growing, Kurumi XXXX.