With our first frost last night, the season just turned from “summer-fall” to “winter-fall,” and we’re in the midst of the autumn vegetables now. Two less-familiar crops that we have in abundance right now are daikon and tatsoi. Daikon is a Japanese staple vegetable — an oversized white radish that readily absorbs flavors when cooked. And tatsoi is a fairly mild Chinese green; tasty raw or cooked. We distribute tatsoi as a loose green for the early cuttings of a bed and then let the remaining plants grow larger to be distributed as whole heads.
This is a recipe that I found last year, which does a great job of showcasing the flavor potential of both the daikon and the tatsoi. My recipe below is adapted from a recipe by Christine Abbey which I found here in the Worden Farm recipe collection.
*The concept of a “large” daikon is highly relative. I used half of a huge one for this recipe. Perhaps one cup of chopped pieces.
Before we get into the rest of the steps, let’s have a note on prepping the tatsoi. I have a suspicion that maybe not all of us are feeling comfortable with the tatsoi yet… Here’s what I do when I’m preparing a head of tatsoi for cooking it. Step 1: Select your tatsoi.
Step 2: Chop your tatsoi roughly in half, separating the leaves from the leaf stems.
Step 3: If the leaf stems (the petioles) are longish, chop them into roughly 1-inch pieces. When you get down to the base of the stem, just tear those last pieces off the stem. (That’s what’s about to happen to that bit in my left hand here.)
Step 4: Roughly chop the leaves into one-inch-wide strips. That’s all. Now that you’ve got your tatsoi ready, here the are rest of the instructions.
1) Heat oil in a large pan on medium heat and when sizzling, add daikon and sauté until just starting to get tender (edges will begin to slightly brown, daikon will start to look “clear”).
2) Add garlic and continue to stir for one minute.
3) Add soy sauce and mirin; turn and stir daikon well to coat with the sauce.
4) Add the onions and the tatsoi stems. Let sauce cook down and onions brown, about 5 minutes (turn daikon once or twice).
5) Add tatsoi leaves, cover, lower heat to low and let steam for 4-5 minutes. Spoon into a serving dish and serve immediately.
That’s the story. It goes well over rice. And check out the featured image at the top of the page to see how much the daikon has absorbed the color (and the flavor) of the soy sauce!