Does your body have issues with digestion or inflammation? Why not try Daikon?
Daikon, also known as Japanese radish or white radish, is widely known in the regions of Southeast Asia, and has historically been a staple in Asian cuisines, especially Japanese due to its versatility. It offers an array of health benefits, such as promoting a healthy digestive system, detoxifies the body and strengthens the immune system. However, one of the most popular and healthiest way of enjoying daikon is by grating it, known as daikon oroshi. Keep reading to find out how to maximise the health benefits of daikon with Daikon Oroshi!
Daikon, popular vegetable in Japanese Cooking
WHAT IS DAIKON?
Daikon, is a long white Japanese radish, it has a crunchy texture and a sweet and light peppery taste. From pickles to salad and soups to simmered dishes, it’s a widely used ingredient in Japanese cooking!
Daikon oroshi is a traditional Japanese condiment made from grated daikon radish. The term “oroshi” means to grate or shred, and that’s what is done to the daikon to create this flavorful topping with a refreshing, tangy flavor. Daikon oroshi is commonly served as a condiment alongside various Japanese dishes and helps cleanse the palate between bites.
Why Daikon Oroshi is the best for maximising health benefits
Daikon is filled with isothiocyanate, an antioxidant compound called sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane is a:
- cancer fighter
Isothiocyanate is only present when the cells in the daikon are split or broken down. To take advantage of all the good, you need to eat it when it is below 40 degrees Celsius, therefore it’s important to eat it raw. It is also important to note that isothiocyanate is only present for up to half an hour, so it’s always best to eat it immediately after it has been grated.
Daikon as a natural digestant
Daikon contains three key digesting enzymes;
Amylase – Breaks down carbohydrates
Protease – Breaks down protein
Lipase – Breaks down fats
Isn’t it great that one humble daikon contain these digestive enzymes? No wonderer grated daikon is served in various Japanese dishes.
Why is it important to have raw daikon?
Raw daikon oroshi is the best way to take advantage of daikon’s health properties, as it serves as a natural digestant, is good for vitamin C and has anti-inflammatory properties.
1. Isothiocyanates possess powerful anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is destroyed when exposed to temperatures of 40° C
2. Raw daikon contains natural digestive enzymes (Amylase,Protease & Lipase) that are all heat sensitive, Amylase is destroyed at 50° C, Protease is destroyed at 42° C and Lipase is destroyed at 32° C so it is crucial to eat raw daikon
3. Raw daikon is a rich source of vitamin C, a water-soluable and temperature-sensitive vitamin that oxidizes and denatures at 70° C (or 158° F). Vitamin C in raw daikon also acts as a potent antioxidant that supports the immune system, boosts collagen production, and helps protect the body against harmful free radicals
This is why the best way to eat daikon is by grating it and eating it raw
Grated daikon with Western dishes makes Japanese style dish
Grated daikon is central to Japanese cuisine and used in so many of our dishes. One of the way of enjoying the grated daikon is adding it to a western dish, you can give it a Japanese twist or style, also known as “wafu”. For example, if we addded daikon oroshi to spaghetti, it would be called “wafu spaghetti”, and if we added daikon oroshi to steak, it would then be called, “wafu steak”.
Wafu ( Japanese style) Spaghetti – raw daikons helps to digest carbohydrate ( spaghetti )
Wafu ( Japanese style ) Steak – raw daikon helps to digest protein and fat (steak)
It makes sense to add daikon oroshi to these meals as the natural digestive enzymes that come from daikon (Amylase,Protease & Lipase) are perfect in helping to break down carbs (from spaghetti) or fats and proteins (from steak).
How to make Daikon Oroshi
Daikon Oroshi – best way to maximise the power of Daikon
- Traditional method means that the daikon is grated by hand. It is important to try it this way at first to understand the texture. You can use a Japanese grater or a box grater, if using the box grater make sure you use the smallest grater.
Food processor or blender
- Blend in the appliance, you will need to leave it blending for a good 10-15 minutes. Check regularly and use a spatula to scrape down the sides, you may need to add a little bit of water to keep it running but only add small amounts at a time.
High speed blender
- This includes appliances like Vitamix, and is by far the best way to prepare the daikon oroshi as it results in a smooth texture. You will need to chop into small cubes first and begin to blend on a low setting and increase the speed slowly until everything is pureed. It is still supposed to retain some texture so make sure you don’t over blend, for this method you will not need any extra water.
And then the Daikon Oroshi is ready to serve!
TIP – The best way to maximise the health benefits of daikon oroshi is to include the skin of daikon as it is very nutritious and full of Vitamin C! Make sure not to peel the skin and eat it within 30 mins.
Daikon is such a beautiful Japanese vegetable that I like to include in my cooking wherever possible. So it is featured heavily in my Japanese Superfood Cookbook in case you are looking for more daikon recipe ideas!
- Nakamura, Y., Iwahashi, T., Tanaka, A., Koutani, J., Matsuo, T., Okamoto, S., … & Ohtsuki, K. (2001). 4-(Methylthio)-3-butenyl isothiocyanate, a principal antimutagen in daikon (Raphanus sativus; Japanese white radish). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 49(12), 5755-5760.
- Bailey, L. H. long white radish.
- Sho, H. (2001). History and characteristics of Okinawan longevity food. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 10(2), 159-164
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