Daikon radishes belong to the same group of veggies as carrots, beets and parsnips, but they have a flavor and texture all their own. Daikons taste like very mild cherry red radishes sans the peppery bite and have a smooth, soft texture and creamy white color that roasts to a delightful golden brown. Daikons cook at about the same rate as other root veggies, so you can roast them along with other root varieties to add color and textural contrasts, or roast them by themselves and puree the roasted daikon into a mashed-potato alternative.
Things You'll Need
Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hold the daikons under cool running water while scrubbing them thoroughly with a vegetable brush. If you don’t have a veggie brush, use a towel.
Cut the tip from the daikon, but leave the blossom end intact. The blossom ends of root vegetables make for good handles when cutting.
Square off one side of the daikon with a few strokes of a vegetable peeler to give it “legs.” Just peel a few slices off the widest side of the daikon so it doesn’t roll around on the cutting board. You can use this method for any round veggie, such as carrots, potatoes and parsnips, to name a few.
Cut the daikon to the desired shape. Since you’re roasting the daikon, you want chunky shapes that hold their form well under high heat. You can slice the daikon crosswise into disks, dice it or slice it into oblique cuts.
To make an oblique cut, place the daikon on the cutting board horizontally in front of you. Position the knife at a 45-degree angle to the daikon, and cut downward through the daikon at a 45-degree angle. Roll the daikon forward a quarter-turn, and cut downward again through the daikon at a 45-degree angle. You will have a piece of daikon with two perpendicular 45-degree-angled sides and one straight side. Move the knife about a 1/2 inch to the left after each cut and continue cutting until you’ve finished the daikon. The oblique cut, also called the “rustic” or “rolled” cut, is a classical French cut used to expose more surface area of a vegetable. More exposed surface area equals more caramelization.
To dice it, square off all four sides with the vegetable peeler and cut the daikon in half lengthwise. Cut the daikon halves crosswise at 1/2- to 1-inch increments.
To cut the daikon into disks, simply cut it crosswise at 1/2-inch increments.
Spread out the daikon in an even layer and season to taste. Good ol’ salt and pepper works for any roasted vegetable, but daikon also likes chili pepper, ginger, garlic, onion and paprika. Place the pan in the oven.
Stir the daikon after about 20 minutes of cooking. Roast the daikon until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Check the tenderness by inserting a paring knife into a few pieces and removing it. The knife should go in and out easily when fully cooked.
Remove the daikon from the oven. You can serve it as-is, or puree or mash it with a little cream for a mashed potato-like side dish.
Roast daikon as soon as possible after you buy it. Daikon doesn’t store well, even under optimal conditions.