We sunk our teeth into a juicy piece of stewed daikon and savored the sweetness of the slow-cooked daikon, the rich saltiness of the miso, and the zesty citrus.
The preparation is a little obsessive, but I guess you learn to expect that with Japanese cooking. After peeling the skin of the daikon and cutting it into thick discs, you take your knife and trim around the edge to dull the corners. Cooking with my mom when I was young, I remember her telling me when vegetables are simmering, they bump into each other and the edges will break off, muddying the stew. Rounding the edges prevents this from happening. Also, there’s the additional step of boiling the daikon first with rice, before adding the kombu to the pot with fresh water and simmering for an hour. This is to maintain its white color. Such consideration!
I wasn’t able to get my hands on yuzu but the zest is absolutely essential to this dish, so I used a lemon as a substitute. The miso sauce might seem too salty at first, but as you cut into the daikon, the water will spill out and thin the sauce.
Adapted from 和風の基本
Makes 4 servings.
daikon, 8 inches in length
2 Tbsp. uncooked rice
2 pieces kombu, each 4 inches in length
6 oz. white miso
1 oz. red miso
1/2 cup dashi
2 Tbsp. mirin
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg yolk
grated yuzu zest (I used lemon)
Cut the daikon crosswise, into 4 pieces. Peel the skin and, with your knife, go around the diameter of the daikon to trim the sharp corners off the edges. With the daikon laying flat on the cutting board, cut an “X” into the face, only cutting half way through. This will ensure the seasonings in the broth will reach the center. The side with the “X” will be the side that faces down when you serve.
Put the rice in an empty tea bag or other type of tea strainer. A small square of cheesecloth will work too, but be sure to allow enough space before tying for the rice to expand. Put the daikon and rice in a large pot (the daikon should lay flat and not overlap) and fill with water until just covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly for 15 minutes. This preliminary boil gets rid of the daikon’s bitter flavor and keeps the color white.
Drain and add cold water to the pot again, covering the daikon. Add the kombu and bring to a boil over high heat. Leaving the kombu in the pot will turn the daikon yellow, so take it out once the flavor is infused in the cooking water, about 5-6 minutes. Simmer for an hour longer.
Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, combine the white and red miso, dashi, mirin, and sugar. Stirring constantly, lower heat once the sauce is heated through. With the pot off the heat, add the egg yolk and stir until combined.
In a small dish, place a piece of daikon, ladle some miso sauce over the side, and sprinkle with the yuzu zest.