I can't get enough of sushi and sashimi, and when you go to a Japanese restaurant you often see some grated daikon adorning the side of the dish beside a clump of wasabi or some pickled ginger (which is another pickle I'd like to try to make at some stage! Any recipe suggestions?) It also features in Korean cuisine, served on the side of Korean BBQ and fried chicken - it really cuts through the grease.
On one sushi outing to Makizo in Edgecliff, we ordered a side dish of "assorted pickles". There were three types of pickles, all highly coloured in pink, green and yellow. The pink and green ones were unusual to say the least, and I'm still not sure exactly what they were (I'll have to find out), but the yellow pickled daikon was a really simple, sweet and sour pickle that went perfectly with a bit of sushi.
Making it is very easy, especially if you have a mandolin to assist with the thin slicing of the daikon. I concocted the pickling brine for this recipe after looking at a few recipes online. The main difference between pickled daikon and other pickles, is that pickled daikon uses rice vinegar. All the recipes require this ingredient. I managed to find a small bottle of it at the New Yen Yen Supermarket in Haymarket. You can really find any Asian ingredient there and it's suspiciously cheap. The brine is also diluted with water, which differs from other pickles that I've made for the blog. So this should lead to a subtler, less sour/tart result.
Another ingredient that kept popping up in pickled daikon recipes is ginger, which makes the daikon match perfectly with the soy and wasabi that would usually accompany sushi. Finally, turmeric is added for colour - daikon would be pretty boring on its own and colour is so important in Japanese cuisine.
I'm yet to taste the results, as I have to wait a couple of days before eating it, but I'll report back next week. Also I'd love to hear from readers if you have any pickling project suggestions! What should I pickle/preserve next?
Pickled Daikon Recipe
What you need:
- 2 large daikons;
- 2 heaped tablespoons of salt;
- 1 cup of rice vinegar;
- 1 cup of water;
- 1 cup of sugar;
- 2 tablespoons of turmeric; and
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, julienned.
The pickling process:
- Peel the daikons, and then slice them thinly into circular discs, preferably using a mandolin.
- Put the slices into a bowl and then add in the salt. Toss the daikon in the bowl so the slices are coated in the salt. Leave the daikon for about 2 hours. Most of the water in the daikon should be extracted by the salt.
- While the daikon is being salted, put the water and sugar into a pot and bring it to the boil. Dissolve the sugar so the mixture becomes a sugar syrup.
- Now, add in the vinegar, ginger and turmeric and leave to simmer of a low heat for a few minutes to infuse. Remove the pickling brine off the heat.
- After 2 hours, strain and squeeze away the extracted water from the daikon. This will ensure the daikon stay crispy and not floppy.
- Sterilise and few jars and lids, and then place the daikon into them, really packing it in.
- Pour the vinegar over the daikon in the jars. Seal the jars up with the lids and refrigerate for at least two days before eating!