Friday, March 7, 2014

Daikon - White Radish

From time to time I find something totally new to me. The other day I was shopping for some Thai green curry at our local international market and after selecting on one but 5 different curries to try I went over to the produce section. I found some really interesting and kind of pretty large pale green and white roots that fascinated me. There were several varieties from Japan, Korea, and a couple of other Asian countries. They were all varieties of Daikon. I decided I must buy one and try it. The Japanese variety really caught my attention as it was the longest and was smoother than the Korean, so I put it in my cart.

When I got home I did some research on this mystery root. It is a mild white radish that is popular in Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam and India. The word Daikon is Japanese meaning dai (big) and kon (root). Daikon has its origins in the Mediterranean region. It was introduced to East Asia some time prior to 500BC.

Daikon is low in calories. One half a cup is only 20 calories. It is high in vitamin C. It also aids in digestion.

In Japan daikon is eaten grated and raw, in soups, dried, pickled, in sushi, simmered and stir-fried. There were lots of things to choose from. I found several soup recipes and since it has been chilly I decided to make a soup for dinner. I found one that I had all the ingredients for and changed it up a bit to make it Paleo and to suit my taste.

Daikon Mushroom Soup

1 Japanese daikon about 12 inches long (peeled and cut into quarters lengthwise and then                  sliced about 3/8" thick)
1 cup cremini mushrooms (thinly sliced)
1 quart chicken broth
8 slices ginger root (cut 1/8" thick)
1 green onion whole
4 finely sliced green onions (for garnish)
1 cup chopped chicken or pork (I used left over chicken breast already cooked)
1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  chili flakes (for garnish)

1. In a 6 quart stock pot add the broth and meat. Bring to a boil and cook the meat if raw for a few minutes. Add the daikon, ginger root, whole green onion and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Remove the whole green onion and add the sliced cremini mushrooms. Simmer for about 3 minutes.

3. Add the spinach leaves, salt and coconut aminos and simmer for a minute just till the spinach is bright green.

4. Remove from the heat and serve into soup bowls. Add a sprinkle of finely sliced green onion and a small amount of red chili flakes for garnish.

This was a very nice soup for a cool day. I will difinetly make it again. I also want to try a few other recipies useing daikon. I will likely try the other varieties the international market has to offer as well.

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