Last Updated on June 3, 2023
Do you adore daikon radish or perhaps it’s the first time you heard such a name? Either way, try this Sweet & Savory Simmered Daikon Radish which is an authentic Japanese style dish made simple! It’s vegan and oil-free, healthy and easy way to try the flavor of Japanese cooking that is not sushi or tempura!
We’ve cooked many dishes with daikon radish. From the leaves to the root, the whole entire parts are edible so it produces less waste! You may be more familiar with small red radish, and probably never even incorporated daikon radish to your cooking. In case you’re wondering, it can go for both raw and cooked. Make sure to check out the other daikon recipes after reading this post!
Simmered Daikon Radish
This was a difficult one to come up with a proper name. In Japanese, it’s called Nimono [煮物] which is a style of Japanese cooking. It could be interpreted as “simmered or stewed things (=food).” For some reasons, they both don’t sound like a perfect translation for the nimono. We really are’t sure why, though. But in the end, we chose “Simmered” Daikon Radish.
In many cases, simmered food (or nimono) is cooked in soy sauce based liquid with dashi that gives a depth and a background umami taste. Some are simply savory while others are sweet & savory. Daikon can be sharp and spicy when it’s raw however cooked daikon becomes slightly sweet. So this soy sauce based sweet & savory taste complements very well with the natural sweetness of the daikon radish!
Now, we mentioned the use of dashi in nimono. For vegan cooking, you can use kombu sheets and/or dried shiitake for making dashi stock. However, when we make this dish, “keeping it simple” was the goal so no stock (dashi) was used for this particular recipe. The result is very easy to make with minimum common ingredients that are accessible to most people!
- Daikon Radish
- Soy Sauce
That’s all the ingredients. Pretty simple, right?
Sake and Mirin
People often ask us if they can skip sake or mirin and the answer is 50/50. For us, those two ingredients are pantry staples so we always have on hand but we understand that’s not the case for many people. If you have sake only, use it combined with sugar. If you have mirin only, use it for sure. To skip both, it will be missing the hint of sake-like background flavor…so try to use at least one of the two.
Sake adds a hint of sweetness and very subtle background flavor. Also, if you are cooking with something that has a strong smell (like fish or meat…), sake will also reduce and mellow it out.
Now, mirin is very similar to sake but mirin has more sweetness and seasonings in some cases. Mirin adds some sweetness, sake-like background flavor, and gloss (perfect for making teriyaki.)
Here is what most people aren’t aware of. Did you know that mirin has a few different types?
- True Mirin — (hon mirin) [本みりん]
- Traditional / Aged
- Made with glutinous rice, rice koji mixed with brewing alcohol
- Mirin-Like Seasoning — (mirin-fu) [みりん風調味料]
- Made with sweetner, rice, rice koji, acidulant, and other seasonings etc.
- Rice Cooking Wine — (ryori-shu) [料理酒]
- Fermented or blended
- rice, rice koji, sweetner, alcohol, and salt etc.
Most likely the mirin you have in your pantry is not traditional mirin, rather rice cooking wine! Traditional mirin is hard to find here so the one we use is the Rice Cooking Wine type of mirin from Eden Foods. Some Mirin-Like Seasoning are made with unwanted ingredients like high fructose corn syrup. Be sure to read the label before you buy!
Any Simmered food (Nimono) tastes better the next day because flavors settles as it cools down in the fridge. It tastes delicious when you serve immediately, and leftovers are even better!
If you like a little heat, spice up with Japanese shichimi pepper. Also, it’s best served with a bowl Japanese rice.
Try those daikon radish recipes that you can incorporate every part of it!
Sweet & Savory Daikon Dadish Leaves
Sweet & Savory Simmered Daikon Radish
- 1 pound daikon radish roots peeled and cut into 1-inch thickness rounds
- 2 cups water (for step 2)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Shichimi pepper (optional)
- Thinly sliced scallion (optional, garnish)
- In a medium pot, place daikon radish and pour water to cover the surface. Put a lid on and bring it to boil on medium high heat Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to medium to medium low. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the center of the daikon is almost translucent and slightly tender, not mushy. Scoop them out of the water (drain) and set aside.
- Use the same pot, add water, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and salt. Uncover the pot and bring it to gentle simmer. Mix well and reduce the heat to medium low.
- Transfer the daikon into the pot and submerge them in the sauce. Cover again and gently simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the daikon absorbs all the flavors.
- Serve immediately or let it cool down and store in the fridge and serve later. Sprinkle shichimi pepper for some heat (optional.) Garnish with scallions (optional.)
- It’s better served with Japanese rice (starchy short grain rice.)
- The taste gets better and the flavor settles as daikon cools down in the fridge. Reheat it to serve later.