On Saturday I had accompanied the bulgogi (see previous post) I sampled at Fiddleheads with strips of daikon radish that I seasoned and stir-fried or sauteed in the electric skillet along with the beef. I had meant to include the recipe in yesterday's write-up at this blog but forgot to include it.
I hadn't decided on the daikon until after I'd gotten to the co-op and was heating up the electric skillet, but it seemed a natural fit with the Korean beef recipe. The marinade was something I threw together on the spot entirely from ingredients available to me right there in the bulk section: rice vinegar, sesame oil, five spice powder and curry powder. Carol Booth, our bulk spice buyer, suggested the five-spice powder; the one she purchased for the co-op is redolent of cinnamon and milder in flavor than previous versions of the seasoning I've encountered, which were robust and rather awful. The curry powder I used is the one that is simply labeled "curry powder", is a brighter yellow-orange than the other jar of "machi" curry, and has a subtler fragrance with an almost floral quality. The other powder is a dull yellow and smells like the kitchen of an Indian restaurant. I used coconut sugar from bulk because I didn't have honey or agave available; for the same reason I used kosher salt instead of soy sauce. As I was throwing things together right there at the co-op into my bowl, I was unable to measure anything and so went by taste. In other words, this is (per usual) more of a suggestion than a set-in-stone recipe - and all brickbats should therefore be slung my way.
Briefly, daikon is a radish of Asian origin that is milder than the familiar red radish; it's crisp texture and mild taste are actually closer to a turnip once cooked, although it still has a mild "bite" when raw. When you go to the co-op's produce section, you'll see it near the carrots; it's a thick and elongated white "club" (at least it looks to me like you could whack someone with it in a desperate emergency, although I doubt it would inflict lasting damage.) You can use it any way you would use any other root veggie: shredded raw on salads, stir-fried (my favorite way to cook it), oven-roasted, pickled; it can even be boiled, pureed and served as you would mashed potatoes. In fact, one young customer at the co-op Saturday, barely taller than the FMRF table, said that his sample "tastes just like potato!" And as he finished it off with a grin on his face, I took that as a seal of approval.
Seasoned Daikon "Fries" (Skillet Version)
(with thanks to Carol Booth for her advice and assistance)
1 daikon radish, cut into strips about the size and shape of a standard french fry
Marinade the strips in a combination of the following:
brown rice vinegar
toasted sesame oil
salt (kosher, sea salt, or soy sauce)
sugar (coconut, raw, honey or agave)
Adjust seasonings to taste, pour over daikon strips, and set aside while your lightly-oiled skillet or wok is heating up. When the pan is just hot (don't let the oil smoke or burn) toss the strips in, and turn every so often with your spatula until brown on all sides and the strips are as crisp or as tender as you like. The longer the strips sit in the marinade the more quickly they cook and the more tender they become, so time accordingly. If you want them to have some crispness, let marinade a few minutes to an hour; longer if you want them more tender.
Serve alongside bulgogi (Korean marinaded beef), perhaps wrapped up in lettuce leaves, or drain on paper towels and serve as a snack or appetizer.
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