Daikon, so crispy when raw, becomes comfort food when cooked. Kombu is a thick dark-green seaweed, sold dried, and because of its saltiness and umami, is a common component of Japanese stocks. Other items to pick up at the Japanese shop: daikon radish sprouts, which have some of the peppery bite of the vegetable; mirin, a rice wine that’s sweeter than sake and used for cooking; and finally, yuzu, a very special citrus fruit slowly gaining in popularity in North America. This last item, however, will probably be hard to find, so just use lemon juice instead.
Serves 6 as a side dish
- 1 large daikon radish (about 2 pounds/900 g)
- 1 piece of kombu (dried kelp), 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) square
- 2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Daikon radish sprouts, for garnish (optional)
- Splash of fresh lemon juice or yuzu juice (if you can find it)
- 2/3 cup (160 mL) miso paste
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) sake
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) granulated sugar, plus more as needed
- Splash of dashi stock, plus more as needed
- 1 large egg yolk
- Peel the daikon and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch (2 to 2.5 cm) rounds. If you don’t have a flat lid that’s slightly smaller than the diameter of your medium saucepan, cut out a circle using parchment paper, and cut out a small air vent. Place the daikon in the medium saucepan, and add the kombu and water to cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover with the small flat lid or parchment paper directly on top of the daikon. Cook until the daikon becomes slightly translucent, about 30 minutes.
- While the daikon cooks, make the dressing. Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil, then reduce to just a simmer over medium-low. In a stainless-steel bowl that fits over the pot, soften the miso by gradually mixing in the sake and mirin. Add the sugar and a splash of dashi stock, and whisk in the egg yolk. Cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thick, about 2 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if needed. If the sauce becomes too thick, whisk in a little dashi stock.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer daikon pieces to individual plates. Drizzle with the dressing. Garnish with the green onions, and daikon sprouts, if using. Drizzle with a splash of lemon juice (or yuzu juice) just before serving.