Daikon is a great vehicle for flavor absorption. Serving them in this fashion isn’t conventional but still very Japanese.
Soy daikon bites with melted cheese
Sometimes weird food combinations work out well. I won’t lie, more often than not the result is questionable and needs to be fixed up and tested a few more times, before it gets my stamp of approval. But sometimes the chemistry of all ingredients turns out so delicious right from the get go, that making any changes would be a mistake. If anyone had told me that Japanese daikon boiled with soy, mirin, dashi and topped with cheese would taste almost like French onion soup, I would’ve said ‘you’re crazy’. But guess what: it does and it’s amazing! All hail the soy daikon and cheese combo!
Put daikon pieces in boiling soy dashi broth and cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered.
Daikon is a favorite vegetable of mine because it’s so versatile. When grated, it’s delicious with cold soba and tsuyu (zaru/ chirashi soba), or served with cod roe (mentaiko oroshi) and a dash of soy. Sliced into thin strips, it makes a delicious and refreshing base for a salad. When boiled, daikon takes on the flavor of the broth and becomes meaty and tender, just like this daikon soy recipe. Familiarizing yourself with this Japanese vegetable will expand your cooking spectrum, especially with Asian cuisine. It makes a regular appearance in many Japanese dishes, like the classic oden, a winter vegetable dish with boiled eggs and fish cakes.
Flip the daikon over every 10 minutes or so, to coat both sides evenly.
I can also see these soy daikon bites as part of a kid’s lunch box (bento style).
This is a brilliant way to serve veggies, as they look and taste nothing like raw vitamin sticks. You have to be creative with kids, but also keeping their food fun, new and interesting to eat will naturally expand their palate. Serving food in cute boxes like this panda bento box turns eating lunch into play.
My first bento box had Little Twin Stars cartoons and was the envy of the entire kindergarten. I picked it during a summer vacation in Japan and came back to Quebec a very proud little girl. All of a sudden, my lunch looked better than anyone else’s at school, colorful and neatly packed in separators. I remember feeling excited about lunch time as I’d get to look at my pretty little bento box and savor mom’s dainty dishes. Itadakimasu! (let’s eat!)
Your daikon should look something like this after 25 minutes of cooking. The caramelization process begins to happen once the butter is added.