Daikon Steak

(recipe follows)

Tofu Steak, daikon steak, sautéed enoki mushrooms, and pan fried leek greens

Tofu Steak, daikon steak, sautéed enoki mushrooms, and pan fried leek greens

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.

In western cultures we often use mirepoix as a flavor base. In Japan they use soy sauce, mirin, and sake.

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

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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tier one (you must use)

  • Four slices of boiled daikon**
  • oil
  • 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.

Serve with Tofu Steak or kim chi (click for the recipes).

**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.

Boiled with a combination of sake, mirin, soy sauce in dashi, or in plain water, both produce delicious results.

Boiled with a combination of sake, mirin, soy sauce in dashi, or in plain water, both produce delicious results.

The green part of negi (Japanese leeks) cooked in a few drops of sesame oil with a teaspoon of soy sauce.

The green part of negi (Japanese leeks) cooked in a few drops of sesame oil with a teaspoon of soy sauce.

7 Comments on “Daikon Steak

  1. I have never eaten daikon. What does it taste like? The dish looks like Japanese fondant ‘potatoes’. Once I know what it tastes like I may have a go cooking fondant daikon using lots of butter instead of the Japanese ingredients. What do you think?

    I admire your versatility and sense of adventure.


    • Taste is always tricky to put into words.

      It’s from the radish family, so raw it has pungency. It’s firm and takes between 30 – 60 minutes to boil so it’s opaque and tender. Once it’s cooked, it resists bite, by which I mean to say it has mouthfeel. Boiled as is it loses it’s pungency and picks up sweetness. Many people boil it with seasonings or drain the water after, say, 30 minutes to remove that strong taste, others use sake in cooking for that purpose. Some accent the sweetness with mirin and sugar, others the saltiness by soy sauce.

      However I try to describe it, once cooked it’s not a strong flavor but has mouth feel and feels like I’m eating something substantial.

      Daikon is also eaten raw in salads, which I will be posting about. It’s also mixed with Indian spices in various dishes including a personal favorite, stuffed flatbread.

      Finally, not to overwhelm you, but smaller daikon are divided by Japanese chefs into top, middle, bottom. If the top is greenish, it’s used grated or in certain dishes, blah, blah, blah. But people don’t really make that distinction with larger daikon.

      Hope that’s not too much,


  2. Pingback: Daikon and tofu steaks with sautéed mushrooms and leek | Made by you and I

  3. Hmmm … I now observe that it is VERY oriental, this recipe … Kim chee?! – that’s Korean buried cabbage, isn’t it? Don’t have a lot of it in my pantry. Or any of those Asian ingredients, in fact.
    I shall wait till you post a vego recipe that anyone can produce, Steven of the new and much nicer gravatar. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • You don’t need Kim Chi for this, and if you wanted it click for the recipe — it’s easy to make, and you can make it from all those scraps of veggies you throw away. What do you do with those, anyway? I’m writing a post on that.

      You might like the tofu better.

      So, what kind of recipe are you looking for? I aim to please.


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