Saving 4 quick daikon radish soup recipes and 4 slow ones for those cold days.
What is Daikon Radish?
Daikon is the Japanese name for the big white radish. It stands for 大根 which literally mean big root.
It is called 白萝卜 (bai luo bo) in mandarin hanyu pinyin, and (lo bak) in Cantonese.
It is a tuber that looks like the carrot, except it is whitish in colour. The carrot is known as 红萝卜 (hong luo bo) which means “red radish”.
It contains glucose, cane sugar, fructose, dietary fibre, vitamin C, amino acids, and potassium. It also contains digestive enzymes such as diastase and amylase that can help break down starch into sugars. It therefore aids digestion and improve metabolism.
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that it can help to clear phlegm, stabilize the breath, and is cooling. Children suffering from colds with dry painful throats and rackling cough are encouraged to eat it raw although I do not think they will like the taste. It is slightly spicy.
It is affectionately acknowledged as the little ginseng. And there is a Chinese folk saying touting its efficacy as dietary therapy for winter.
It means “Radish in the winter, ginger in the summer, and the doctor’s out of business“.
How to Choose Daikon Radish
Choose radishes that have nice white, plump and shiny skin. Make sure they are heavy, not just big. Leaves should be green and plump. Avoid those with shrivelled leaves.
If you are going to keep it for a while, remove the leaves and wrap the cut portion with cling wrap. Wrap the entire radish with newspaper and store in the refrigerator.
The skin can be eaten so wash and scrub thoroughly before cooking. If you want to remove the skin, do so with a peeler like you would with a carrot. However nearly 98% of the calcium in daikon are found in the skin.
It can be sliced, diced, shredded and grated. The grated version is indispensable in the Japanese tempura dipping sauce. It imparts a certain depth to the thin sauce.
Different parts of the radish can taste different. The top part nearer the leaves is supposed to be sweeter, so it is suitable for grating or used in salads. The tip is spicy and is usually pickled. The middle section contains the most liquid and is commonly used in soups and stews.
Quick Daikon Radish Soup Recipes
It adds bulk and provide satiety in quick soups like the following recipes.
Daikon Radish Fried Egg Soup 萝卜鸡蛋汤
This daikon radish fried egg soup is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. The basic ingredients are shredded daikon radish and fried eggs.
Daikon radish has a bite so cooking it well is important. Shredding it is a brilliant idea to shorten cooking time. The video tutorial below shows us how to make a single portion using one of those electric pot with a ceramic interior (https://amzn.to/47Kf8bZ).
The tips are:  Lightly fry the shredded radish first.  Add hot water to the fried eggs.  Bring everything to a boil before adding the shredded radish.
There is a written recipe at Carrot Shredded Egg Soup | Miss Chinese Food but the English is not too good. I think the author used Google Translate.
Daikon Radish Shrimp Soup
The video below is a recipe using shrimps and shredded radish. I personally think daikon goes really well with shrimps.
Japanese daikon tofu soup
I also found a Japanese version that contained tofu. See the video below. The radish is sliced thinly instead of shredded, and the eggs are dropped into the soup and not fried.
Chinese Radish Soup with Beef Slices
This is a quick recipe, not the long simmering type.
- 200g sukiyaki beef slices
- 1 small radish
- 1 small carrot
- 1 stalk coriander
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 litre beef stock
- Peel the radish and carrot, cut into small cubes
- Slice the beef thinly and marinate with salt and cornstarch
- Bring the beef stock to a boil and cook the carrot and radish
- Add the beef slices using a pair of chopsticks to work them around the soup to prevent them from sticking together
- Once the beef slices change colour, remove from heat
- Garnish with chopped coriander and serve
Slow Cooked Daikon Radish Soup Recipes
Chinese Beef Radish Stew
Any recipe that turns tough beef cuts into flavourful and hearty food must be cherished, kept and promoted. Daikon radish has detoxifying properties so adding it to a beef stew balances the dish and cuts down on the heaviness.
This recipe is non-spicy and slightly herbal. It is a gentle warming dish with the ginger and spring onion. It uses a claypot, but if you do not have a claypot, use a dutch oven or a deep-based enamel pot.
- 200g beef flank
- 300g daikon
- 20g astragalus
- 2-3 pieces ginger
- 1 stalk spring onion
- 6 cups of water
Directions (for claypot or dutch oven)
- Wash the beef and cut into pieces
- Parboil the beef pieces, remove and rinse
- Peel the daikon and cut into pieces about the same size as the beef
- Place the beef, astragalus, spring onion, ginger into a deep bodied clay pot
- Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil
- Lower to medium heat and cook for about 30 minutes
- Add the daikon and salt
- Cook till daikon is tender
- Serve hot
Slow Simmered Beef Brisket Stew
Daikon radish pairs well with beef brisket, a cut that requires long cooking. With sufficient simmering, it loses its spicy taste and takes on the flavour of brisket and can be mistaken for beef tendon.
- 150g beef brisket, sliced
- 1 daikon radish
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 slices ginger
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp chilli sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Sesame seed oil
- Cooking oil
- Wash and peel the daikon
- Cut into irregular chunks and parboil them for a few minutes
- Slice the chilli open, remove the seeds and cut into large pieces
- Heat up some cooking oil in a large claypot or dutch oven
- Add the sliced chilli, garlic, ginger, chilli sauce, oyster sauce and stir fry
- Add the parboiled daikon pieces and beef brisket slices and stir fry for a few minutes
- Add sufficient water to cover the ingredients
- Lower the heat to a slow simmer and simmer till the beef is tender and the daikon is soft
The video above features a beef and radish stew made using an instant pot. It uses a couple of aromatics to deepen the flavour of the dish.
Pork rib and radish simmered soup
This is a fairly straightforward recipe for any Chinese cook. Prepare all the ingredients to cook together in an electric pot.
- 500g white radish, peeled and cut into chunks
- 500g pork ribs
- 15g ginger
- 1500ml water
- 20ml cooking wine
- 1/2 tsp salt
Place all the ingredients except salt into a slow cooker. Cook on medium for about 45 minutes or until the pork ribs and radish chunks are soft.
Japanese chicken and radish stew
The second dish in this video is a Japanese chicken and radish stew.
- 4 drumsticks
- 100g daikon
- 50cc sake
- 50cc mirin
- 1 tbsp rock sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 500cc dashi stock
- Spring onion for garnish
Other Ways to Enjoy Daikon Radish
Although daikon can be quite spicy, that hasn’t stopped people from using it raw in salads. It just has to be pickled first. Wash thoroughly, cut, slice or shred and let it stand in salt. Both the Japanese, Korean and Chinese like to pickle daikon.
One of the most distinctive Japanese pickled products is the yellow pickle that are almost always served in Japanese bentos and sushi. It is called takuan and here is a video demonstrating how it is done. It requires an ingredient called the gardenia fruit. The basic ingredients are:
- 1 large daikon radish (or 1 kg)
- 16g salt
- 1 dried gardenia fruit 山栀子 (https://amzn.to/3DHlER5) crushed
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup sake or cooking wine
- 60g sugar
The Chinese prefers to pickle them in long thin strips and marinated with just salt, vinegar and chili for a quick starter.
Steamed Radish cake
The white radish is also a key ingredient in several savory snacks.
The steamed radish cake, 萝卜糕 (chao luo bo gao), also called the turnip cake in other parts of Asia, although it isn’t made of turnip.
The basic ingredients include:
- White radish, shredded
- Rice flour
- Tapioca flour
The shredded radish is mixed together with rice flour, tapioca flour and water into a thick paste before being steamed into cakes.
The video below shows how a fairly basic steamed radish cake is made.
The next video below is a pimped-up version containing Chinese sausages, dried shrimps, and peanuts.
The next video below is a Japanese take on the same cake. It is called the radish mochi. This is not steamed. It is pan-fried.
Finally, the plain steamed cakes can be turned into fried carrot cake. The cakes are diced into small cubes and fried in a big wok with eggs with or without sweet black sauce. It is a Southeast Asian dish.
I used to have them for Sunday breakfast. There is a really good hawker near my home. He uses a tennis racket to cut his radish cakes. I know, not hygienic but super fast.
Steamed Radish Balls
Shredded radish can also be made into balls and steamed. The video below has good pace although there are only Chinese captions. Let me know if you would like it translated.
One Daikon Radish 6 Recipes
The Ytower cooking video above shows 6 different recipes using different parts of one radish. The ingredient lists in English are given in the video as well as in the description.
- Stir fry radish leaves with minced pork
- Stir fry pork with radish peel
- Pickled spicy radish peel
- Radish dumplings
- Pork belly and radish stew
- Pork rib and radish soup.
One Daikon Radish Cook 5 Ways – Japanese Style
Chef Masa is a Japanese chef living in Taiwan. He teaches cooking in Mandarin. His 5 radish dishes include:
- Radish Tuna Salad
- Chicken radish stew
- Shrimp and radish with bechamel sauce
- Radish medallions with meat sauce
- Stir fry pork belly with radish
There are both English and Chinese subtitles. Detailed ingredient lists are available in the video description.
Daikon is not for Everyone
People with stomach ulcers or chronic gastric problems do have to be careful not to consume too much daikon. People on medication or taking tonics are also advised to avoid daikon as it might affect the efficacy of the medications.
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