Daikon (Raphanus sativus Longipinnatus group)
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Daikon (Japanese: 大根, literally “large root”; traditional Chinese: 白蘿蔔, bai2-luo2-bo5 “white radish”; In the Chaozhou dialect of Min Nan it is called beh-cai-tao (白菜頭) “white vegetable head” Korean: 무 mu), is a mild-flavored East Asian giant white radish. Though most widely known as daikon, the radish is also known under other names, including daikon radish, Japanese or Chinese radish, winter radish, mooli or moo (Korean), lobak, loh bak, lo-bok, or lo bok (Cantonese), labanos, rabu, phakkat-hua, and củ cải trắng (Vietnamese).
Although there are many varieties of daikon, the most common in Japan, the Aokubi Daikon, has the shape of a giant carrot, approximately 20 to 35 cm (8 to 14 inches) long and 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) in diameter. One of the most unlikely shaped daikon is Sakurajima daikon from Kagoshima Prefecture that is shaped like an oversized turnip with white outside and bright pink inside.
The flavour is rather milder than most small radishes.
Daikon is an important part of Japanese cuisine.
Raw daikon may be served in salads, as a garnish for dishes such as sashimi, or marinated in vinegar. Grated raw daikon, known as daikon oroshi, is popular as a garnish for dishes such as yakizakana (grilled fish), natto, or in the dipping sauce for tempura or soba. Cooked daikon is often served as an ingredient in miso soup or in stews such as oden. In some areas of Japan it is often stewed with squid or octopus, as it is said that enzymes contained in daikon tenderises them. It can also be boiled to a partially softened state in Japanese broth, or dashi, as part of the dish Oden.
Daikon was traditionally pickled in autumn to preserve vegetables for the winter. One of the most popular varieties of pickled daikon, called takuan (沢庵) in Japanese and danmuji (단무지) in Korean, is usually bright yellow in colour and is sometimes used in sushi. It is claimed, but not historically supported, that a Buddhist monk called Takuan Sōhō first made this pickle.