I love fermented daikon!
There…., I said it!
It never seems to fail me when I either include it in another ferment or ferment it on its own.
And it’s not just that I love fermented daikon radish, I get the sense that lactobacillus loves daikon too. It’s radishy, don’t get me wrong, but when daikon ferments, it gets a nice sourness to it which seems to fill out the normal bite of the radish.
While you can find daikon radishes in many markets across the US and around the world, it seems to be in Asia where there is a greater love affair with daikon. In some places, Daikon is referred to as Mooli. While wandering villages and neighborhoods in Nepal during daikon season, I quite commonly have found daikon radishes sliced up and drying in the sun. It turns out this is a preliminary step in the fermenting what the Nepali commonly refer to as achaar. While in Thailand not too long ago, I found a vendor of fermented goodness in the Thursday market up near the Myanmar border. You know you are more rural in Thailand when the markets are named after days of the week and the vendors make rounds from town to town on different days. Anyway, I purchased a delicious spicy fermented daikon there and I’ve done my best to recreate the fermented diakon radish recipe here. This may not be a fully faithful reproduction, but to my taste, but I actually like the tooth of this one better.
Since daikon has a high liquid to fiber ratio, it’s helpful, if you want to concentrate the flavor well, to partially dry it before beginning the fermentation process. You can prep your diakon any way you like, but I opted to use a “spiralizer,” a handy little kitchen tool which allows you to make long noodle-like threads from various vegetables. Pictured to the right is the spiralizer that I own and I am confident recommending it. It works well with daikon but also with zucchini, sweet potatoes and other firm vegetables. You can also get an electric spiralizer if you prefer. Spiralizers aren’t too expensive and simply give you another creative option when prepping veggies. If you haven’t tried it before, you can make zucchini “spaghetti” noodles with a spiralizer and toss them raw with a nice fresh pesto and yum!
OK, back to the fermented daikon radish recipe….. I made this ferment fairly simply, with daikon, salt and red chili pepper as the only ingredients. Daikon stands so well on it’s own once fermented that I didn’t want to deflect the taste too much by adding other ingredients. One of the main reasons this recipe does well fermented is that it seems to get better as it ages, at least for my taste, continually getting more sour, even after being placed in the refrigerator. That sourness is a delicious counterpoint to its “radishness.”
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If you’re a meat eater, or even a veggie burger loving guy like myself, this would go great as a topping for a burger or served with sausage, or on the side with a steak. It would also be delicious simply mixed into a salad, as part of a Chinese Chicken Salad or served alongside roasted veggies as I did the other night.