This is a popular isakaya-style dish which makes a great starter in a Japanese menu. White radish is transformed into delicate, soft disks.
1 firm, medium sized daikon or white radish
water from washing rice or a handful of rice
light braising stock
500ml katsuo dashi or kombu dashi
2 tbs soy sauce
1,5 tbsp mirin
1,5 tbsp sugar
strong “buta no kakuni”-style braising stock:
100 ml sake
50 ml mirin
75 ml dark soya sauce
75 grs brown sugar
500 ml water
Cut the daikon into equally sized 2 cm thick disks. Peel the disks with a vegetable peeler and slightly bevel the edges. This makes the disks look nicer and also prevents the edges from splitting while cooking. Make a half a centimetre-deep crosswise incision in each disk. This lets them cook more quickly but most importantly makes them easier to cut into pieces when eating with chopsticks.
Place daikon with the cut-side down in a pot, add water and cover with a drop lid. Use water from washing rice or add a handful of rice to the cooking water. This helps to eliminate bitterness from the daikon. Bring to a simmer and gently simmer for 45 minutes. You could also cook it in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes, but be careful not to overcook. Test with a knife, the daikon should be quite soft.
Discard water (and rice), rinse the daikon, pot and drop lid with cold water, otherwise the simmering liquid may become cloudy. Add the simmering liquid to the daikon, cover with the drop lid and bring the temperature up to 80 degrees Celsius, hold for 10 minutes. Remove and let infuse over night.
Serve warm, in individual bowls with a little bit of the braising liquid. Garnish with a dot of hot Japanese or Dijon mustard, some sprouts (mustard, radish), shiso, chives, black sesame seeds or citrus peels. Sautéed enoki ore similar mushrooms could also be good.
You can also top it with some yuzu-miso paste:
4 tbsp (approx. 60g) mild white miso
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp mirin (sweet cooking rice wine)
2 tbsp dashi
zest from a yuzu orange, alternatively bergamot, mandarine, grapefruit, lime or lemon
Add all the ingredients apart from the zest in a small saucepan, mix into a smooth paste while heating. Let cool and add zest.