I was watching a Japanese cooking program many years ago in which a wizened chef placed six thick slices of daikon in a large cast iron skillet filled with hot olive oil and cooked them until they browned, which took over an hour. My thighs expand just remembering it.
A quick lunch or supper for me borrows from his idea. I lightly coat the bottom of the pan in sesame or olive oil and fry boiled daikon on high until the bottoms brown, between five to ten minutes depending on how much water is in the daikon. Browning the daikon imparts flavor and texture. Of course you can omit the oil by using a non stick pan.
The ratios of those big three vary from cook to cook, influenced by region and brand. For example, Mirin should have an alcohol content between 12 and 17 percent, but many markets sell sweeter versions with only 2 percent. the difference in alcohol and sugar affects the balance, which is why you should always taste as you cook. Huge differences in flavor by brand and type is true for soy sauce and sake as well — always taste what you’re working with.
Here, I’m adding soy sauce to the leeks and so I decrease the amount of soy sauce in the mushrooms and add mirin for sweetness. My mirin is 17% alcohol, so I omit sake (thought sake has it’s only flavor profile).
Daikon Steaks with Sautéed Leek
tier one (you must use)
- Four slices of boiled daikon**
- Green tops from leek or negi (to add color, you can use the white)
tier two (suggested)
- Oil for frying
tier three (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce (for seasoning, adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Mirin (for seasoning, adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Sake (for seasoning, adjust to taste)
Heat a small amount he oil in a fry pan, add the boiled daikon one slice at a time and swirl it around the pan to spread the oil and coat the bottom. Cook for three to five minutes on high Check the bottoms. If they have browned, turn them over. After both sides have browned remove and plate them.
Add a few drops of oil and quickly sauté the leek greens about two minutes. Add soy sauce and evaporate. Plate on or next to daikon.
**you can boil daikon with or without seasonings. Cut peeled daikon and boil in plain water or dashi for 30 to 40 minutes. Add two to five tablespoons each of soy sauce, mirin, sake and cover until room temperature, or they are translucent and tender — piercing with a fork should give little to no resistance. Of course, the balance of the big three is up to your preference, or you don’t have to add any at all.