Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rabu Rabu Cooking: With Daikon

I picked up this "cooking with daikon" pamphlet at the grocery store the other day. Here in Japan, most grocery stores put out these free pamphlets to give people ideas of recipes using seasonal ingredients. It's beneficial to them because people who just came to the supermarket to buy a cup of instant ramen or w/e will end up buying the ingredients to make a dish they saw in the pamphlet instead, and it's beneficial to us because we get free recipes, directly in front of us without having to search and plan ahead, and best of all it doesn't say anywhere on there that it's copyrighted material, so I can translate it for you guys to my heart's content! There were more than these two recipes in the original pamphlet, but I only bothered scanning and translating the ones that look good to me. 

Just in case you don't know "daikon" is the name of a giant white Japanese radish. It's low in calories, high in nutrients, especially vitamin C, very inexpensive, and with a subtle taste and pleasant texture that makes it especially popular when stewed in some kind of flavorful sauce or broth. However, raw daikon is very hard, so it takes a long time to cook, and it's very stinky! I use grated raw daikon as a garnish often, but I wouldn't suggest eating it by itself; we put grated raw daikon and ponzu (a vinegar soy sauce) on grilled fish, for example. In the US, I was able to find daikon at my local asian foods specialty store, and I wouldn't be surprised if some normal grocery stores were carrying it now-a-days, though I can't remember if any near me did when I lived in the US.

Recipe 1: Butter-tomato Stewed Pork and Daikon

Ingredients (feeds 4):
* 10 cm of daikon, peeled and cut into chunks
* 500 g of pork shoulder, cut into chunks and dusted with a bit of flour, salt and pepper
* 400 g can of cut tomatoes
* 1 TBSP of olive oil
* 1 cup of water
* 50 mL of white wine or nihonshu
* 2 cubes of chicken bullion 
* 1 clove of garlic, sliced
* 1 bay leaf (optional)
* salt and pepper (to taste)
* 20 g of butter
* Italian parsley, chopped (to taste)

1. Heat olive oil in a deep fry pan or pot and add the pork and daikon.
2. Once the pork and daikon have developed some color, add the water, can of cut tomatoes, wine, bullion cubes, garlic and bay leaf and simmer on medium-low for 40 minutes.
3. Once the daikon's softened, flavor with salt and pepper to taste and finish by stirring in the butter. Ladle into serving bowl and garnish with Italian parsley as desired. 

Recipe 2: 3-Color Namul with Daikon

Ingredients: (feeds 4):
* 5 cm of daikon, peeled and cut into long, thin strips
* 1/4th of a carrot, peeled and cut into long, thin strips (Note: Japanese carrots are very short and fat, so I think 1/4th of a Japanese carrot would be equivalent to about 1 whole US carrot)
* 1 cucumber, cut into long, thin, strips (Note: Japanese cucumbers are long and thin, about 1/3rd the size of a standard US cucumber, so you might not need the whole thing)
* 1 TSP of grated garlic
* salt and pepper (to taste)
*  1 TBSP of "tori-gara soup no moto"(Note: This is basically a chicken bullion powder. I think a crumbled-up bullion cube should work fine as a substitution).
* 1 tsp of white sesame seeds
* 2 TSP of sesame oil

1. Mix the daikon, carrot and cucumber strips together and sprinkle liberally with salt. Leave fore a few minutes, then wash off the salt and squeeze out as much of the water as you can from the vegetables with paper towels. 
2. In a bowl, mix the vegetables from step 1 with the grated garlic, chicken bullion powder, white sesame seeds and sesame oil together. Leave to marinate for a bit, then it's ready to eat.

That's all! I can't say whether or not either of these recipes actually taste good, because I haven't tried either of them yet, though I plan to try both soon. This "Cooking with Daikon" pamphlet was published by Seiyu, the Japanese branch of Walmart, and these recipes are ultimately their intellectual property, not mine! Please let me know in the comments if you are interested in more posts like this and I'll bring you some more recipes, I have a whole ton of these pamphlets at home for when I need some cooking inspiration. 

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