Takuan (pickled daikon)
Radishes, like all veggies, keep well in the refrigerator if they are placed in a sealed container or bag to maintain high humidity. For this recipe, however, you want to …
(keep ratios equivalent to daikon weight)
Rice Bran (15% of daikon weight)
2 tspn Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp White Sugar
1/2 Chopped, Fresh Chili
3 long pieces of dry seaweed, chopped
Peel of 2 Oranges
Pinch of Salt
- Radishes, like all veggies, keep well in the refrigerator if they are placed in a sealed container or bag to maintain high humidity. For this recipe, however, you want to accomplish the opposite effect. Unlike a brine pickling process, the traditional recipe for Takuan (pickled daikon) uses what you might call a dry pickling technique.
- Wash and towel dry the daikon without removing the stems or cutting anything. Place or tie the daikon in an exposed but safe spot in the sun for 1-2 weeks. You may wish to bring it in like a stray cat at night to protect it from morning dew. Once it has gone bendy and rubbery, it’s time to clean it with a paper towel and start the pickling process.
- Cut the stem and/or leaves off at the base but put them aside, as you will need them again. Roll the daikon across a hard surface, your kitchen bench to knead and straighten it out a little.
- Pour in the rice bran, salt, brown sugar, chopped seaweed, chili and white sugar into a bowl and mix well.
- In a separate airtight container – sealable jar or bucket – line the bottom with a layer of the dry mixture. Add the orange peel slices and then the daikon on top. If you dried several daikon’s try to get them in there with the least amount of gaps without cutting the daikon. If you’re trying it out with the one piece, you may need to cut it into sections to get the desired ‘cramming’ effect desired for pickling. Sprinkle the rest of the dry mixture on top, and then fill any air spaces with your leftover stems and leaves. Press down with your hands to eliminate as much space between the pieces as possible. Add a final sprinkle of salt to stop mould from forming and your ready to close the airtight container.
- After 3-4 weeks in a cool, dry place, pull your daikon out of their container for a quick rinse under water before using them as a garnish (sliced on top of sashimi or grated as an accompaniment to cooked fish), julienne in a salad or as tasty props for a dip platter. You can keep your finished work refrigerated and it will last a good while.
Note: if a small amount of liquid starts to form don’t panic. This can be a normal part of the fermentation process. As long as their is no mould present, remove the liquid carefully and replace the lid until the process is complete. You can pickle in this way for months but this would produce a far stronger tasting Takuan. You’ll find your measure experimenting and taste-testing.
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