Also known as white radish, Japanese radish, Chinese radish, winter radish, and luobo, daikon is a sweet root vegetable discovered initially in East Asia. You can prepare it in several ways. Some include cooking, baking, roasting, and so on. The best part has to be that without any need for cooking, they can be eaten raw.
Since they’re majorly a Japanese diet, they might not be readily found in common grocery stores near you. For this reason, many times, you might need to substitute them in diets. And we know just what’s right.
What is the best substitute for daikon radish? The best substitute for daikon radish is carrots. The only giant difference between daikon radishes and carrots is that while the former is creamy white, the other is bright orange.
An Overview of Daikon Radish
Daikons are grown for livestock and are also used to produce seed oil (very useful in cosmetics).
Perhaps its strongest suits are its enriching nutritional contents and its many health benefits. Amongst other things, containing more than the body’s daily requirement, daikon is richest in vitamins, fibers, and protein, with protein in the least concentration.
Among other vitamins, daikon is most rich in folate (vitamin B) and is hence very useful in pregnant women’s diet.
Daikon is a non-starchy vegetable (it’s low in carbohydrates). This, coupled with the fact that it has low calories and high fiber, makes it an excellent weight-loss food.
The carrot look-alike exists in several varieties (all of which are substitutes in their own right). Here are some of them:
Generally, daikon comes in a variety of colors. They also come in different shapes and sizes. They could be oblong, spherical, or cylindrical. Let’s take a look at some of them.
- The KN-Bravo: This is widely only a purple variant of the white. It has purple skin and a flesh that gradually dovetails to white from light purple. It has a mildly sweet taste.
- Miyashige White: This is the white one we’ve been discussing. It has a cylindrical root and is only slightly sweet.
- Alpine: As a general rule, radishes with shorter roots usually taste sweeter. Alpine is one of them and is the people’s choice for kimchi.
- Watermelon radish: You guessed right. It looks exactly like a watermelon: spherical, green skin, and bright red flesh. It’s mildly sweet and even peppery.
- Shunkyo: This is also one of the sweetest daikon varieties. It is cylindrical, has red skin and white flesh. Any daikon growing with pink leaves is shunkyo.
- Japanese Minowase: This has one of the longest roots, measuring up to 24 inches. They’re white with mild sweetness and crisp texture.
Daikon works magical wonders in the kitchen. No boundaries, no limitations. Only be as creative as you want.
Since it can be eaten raw, you can grate it on a salad to improve its flavor and crisp texture; dice it in pasta and noodles; eat steamed daikon with some olive oil, pepper, and salt as a low-calorie stand-alone meal; roast with diced potatoes and carrots. There are a lot of options!
Why Replace Daikon Radish?
Now, daikon seems like the perfect root vegetable. Why would anyone ever want to replace it?
- Non-availability: Because daikon is an Asian vegetable, you might not find it in your local English grocery stores. You most times might need to visit an Asian market. And not everyone has the time for that. Use a substitute.
- Curiosity: For some reason, you might simply be eager to know how better/worse a dish would taste without daikon. Experiments like this help your future judgment. You’re not a cat; curiosity can’t possibly kill you.
Best Recommended Substitute for Daikon Radish: Carrots
If you can’t find daikon at the store, the immediate substitute comes to mind is carrots. Carrots, especially when ripe enough, are one of the sweetest things you’ll ever taste. Carrots will seamlessly fit anywhere daikon radishes will, and vice versa.
Unlike daikon radishes, however, carrots do not have such a wide range of variants. For most of it, carrots are carrots. Nonetheless, they can be prepared in the same ways and for the same foods as daikon radishes.
Also known as the table radish, red radish is a small spherical radish with bright red skin and white flesh (do not confuse it with the watermelon radish). Because red radishes can be cooked and eaten raw, they can be prepared in several ways. They can be roasted, grilled, fried, pickled, or even baked. They make amazing combos with butter and creams, soups and sauces, onions, lemon, and shellfish, to name a few.
Cabbages are the perfect vegetables. They constitute most ingredients in salads and are best used in place of daikon for soups and sauces. That they’re crunchy and mildly sweet makes them even better.
These are gotten from the root of the beet plant. If your community store is out of daikon, you can substitute with beetroot to achieve an earthy and slightly sweet flavor in your meal.
If you want a pungent note present in your dish, the horseradish is your best option. While it is admittedly not the most common alternative, but it is one. The horseradish offers a beautiful blend of health benefits into a lovely sour meal. It is not as versatile in use and is usually consumed as horseradish sauce.