Last Updated on February 14, 2021
Here is another low-waste recipe using one of our favorite vegetables, daikon radish! Quick Sautéed Daikon Leaves & Peels is healthy, flavorful, but super quick to make. It’s vegan and gluten free and the best of all, you will not waste any parts of the daikon radish!
The seasonings are so simple; salt, mirin and toasted sesame seeds. That’s all you need to flavor the daikon radish. Daikon naturally has a hint of spiciness which becomes slightly sweeter, pungent smell which gets milder when cooked. The flavor is pretty dominant enough so that you want to highlight the natural deliciousness of it by keeping the seasoning ingredients simple.
For us, the combination of salt and toasted sesame oil is a complete seasoning for Asian theme dishes. You won’t believe how simple but delicious it is to season anything with those two ingredients! To add a hint of sweetness in the background, we use mirin. Mirin is one of the kitchen staples for cooking Japanese food. We highly recommend keeping a bottle in your kitchen as well. It’s basically a seasoned cooking wine that adds a little sweetness and a depth in the finished flavor. It also adds a little gloss to the food!
If you don’t have mirin, you can either skip it or substitute with a splash of sake + a pinch of sugar.
Daikon radish is a thick white root vegetable widely used in Japan and other Asian countries such as Korea and China. The taste is similar to the Western radishes (red ones) but it can be a bit sharper or spicier, in our opinion. You can prepare either raw or cooked. It’s versatile to make variety of dishes; salads, stew, soups, stir-fries etc..
While mostly the white root is used for cooking, the leaves and stems are also edible. Also, the skin is typically removed before cooking, but with this recipe we incorporate the skin to make a delicious dish.
[Important Note] — After peeling the skin, the flesh will dry up so we recommend tightly wrapping them with a plastic wrap and store in the fridge. But we should warn you that the fridge will not smell good! So just make another dish right away if possible. Making a soup using the flesh would be a great idea!
Daikon Leaves Preparation
We can’t stress enough that the most important thing for cooking with daikon radish is that you need to wash well to remove the sand! This may take about 10-15 minutes of the preparation time but it’s essential! Sand is trapped between leaves and stems and unfortunately will not come off completely by just rinsing with running water.
The best way is to soak the leaves is with stems in water in the sink after trimming off its flesh. Wait for a couple of minutes then you will see the sand deposited at the bottom of the sink. Scoop them out of the water and drain the water. Rinse the sink with water to wash off sand then repeat the same process for a couple of times until you won’t see the sand deposition.
Then use a salad spinner to remove excess water. You may still see some sand in the expelled water after spinning. If so, do an another “wash & spin cycle” using the salad spinner. At this point, the sand should be off completely and ready to cook! All you have to do is cut them into 1 1/2 inch length.
Daikon Peels Preperation
Unlike the leaves and stems, peeling off daikon skin is so easy. Just rinse the daikon flesh (root) under running water. Remove the small roots (looking like hair) attached to the flesh. Then use a vegetable peeler and move length wise to peel off long strips. Ideally, we want to make them into the same width as the leaves and stems. So, if the peels are too wide, just run a knife in the center moving length wide to make thinner strips. Lastly, cut them into 1 1/2 inch length, again, the idea is to be the same size as the leaves.
Try other creations of daikon leaves or other radish related recipes!
Quick Sautéed Daikon Leaves & Peels
- 2-3 daikon radishes which should give 3.5 to 4 oz each of “leaves and stems”, and “peels”
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1/2 tbsp mirin
- 1/4 tsp salt (more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- Cut the daikon radish leaves and stems off. Soak them in water (it’s easier to do in the sink with water) and leave for a couple of minutes so remove sand settles to the bottom. Rinse them very well with running water and set aside. Discard the water and repeat the process as many times as necessary. Use a salad spinner to spin dry or pat dry with a towel to remove excess water. Cut them into 1 1/2-inch length. Separate thick parts and thin parts. Set aside.
- Rinse the daikon (flesh) with water to clean. Remove any small hair attached to the skin. Then peel the skin off lengthwise with a vegetable peeler. If it’s wide, run the knife through the center to make it thin. Then cut them into 1 1/2-inch length. Set aside.
- Heat up a frying pan at medium high heat. Pour sunflower oil, then add thick parts of daikon leaves and stems. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add the thin parts and the peels. Season with mirin and salt. If it’s too hot, reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the stems are tender but not too soft.
- Add toasted sesame oil. Give a quick stir.
- Serve immediately.
- It’s better served with Japanese rice (starchy short grain rice.)