Pickled Daikon 大根の漬物

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Pickled Daikon | JustOneCookbook.com

Root vegetables like daikon are especially delicious in winter months, so let’s grab daikon at a Japanese/Asian grocery store and make some simple Pickled Daikon!

Pickled Daikon | Nami @ JustOneCookbook.com

In Japan, pickles, or we call it Tsukemono (漬物), are a staple for Japanese meal.  They are usually served with rice and considered as a necessary accompaniment to Japanese meals.  There are a wide variety of Tsukemono, from simple Pickled Cucumbers preserved in salt to delicate vegetables preserved in rice bran.  There is even a Tsukemono (called Fukujinzuke 福神漬) that goes with Japanese Curry!

Daikon (大根) are large white radishes used in Asian cooking. They taste like radishes but milder.  The thickest green part of the root closest to the top is the sweetest whereas the narrow bottom area of the root is peppery and pungent.  The texture varies depends on how you cook it – crisp when raw and tender when cooked.

Daikon Radish(Image Courtesy of YumSugar)

Although they are often sold without their tops at Asian market, the entire plant is edible. Usually Japanese stores sell whole daikon including leaves, and I like to chop the leaves into small pieces and add in Miso Soup (so good!).  Daikon tastes the best when it’s juicy.  To select good daikon, the skin should be smooth and it should feel heavy. The dried daikon might taste peppery, so be careful when you select daikon at a store.

Daikon are available in all year around but they are extra juicy and have a milder taste during the cold winter months. You can cut off whatever amount you need for your cooking, and place the remaining in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.  Daikon is a versatile and convenient root vegetable; I use it in soup, nabe, garnish, and Oden to name a few dishes.

Pickled Daikon | Nami @ JustOneCookbook.com

When you pickle daikon, it will turn into an amazing side dish.  All you need is the right amount of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt (sake and red chili pepper are optional).  Even the peppery daikon you might have unfortunately ended up with sometimes will mellow out nicely with this sweet and salty flavor.

The amount of sugar or salt might look too much for your standard pickle dish.  However, during pickling process daikon releases lots of water and dilutes the condiments.  Also, the Japanese always eat pickle dishes with rice.  These salty sweet pickles and plain rice complement each other very well.  Therefore, these pickles are not meant to eat alone like a salad.  We consider pickles as a palate cleanser between dishes and we call this kind of dish “Hashi Yasume” (literally, chopstick rest  箸休め).

Pickled Daikon | Nami @ JustOneCookbook.com

Oh by the way, if pickles are not your thing or you prefer to eat daikon raw, then try my Daikon Salad.  Crunchy texture is fun and addicting to eat and so refreshing!  Remember to soak in cold water especially if your daikon tastes more peppery than your preference.  Hope you enjoy cooking with daikon!

Daikon Salad | JustOneCookbook.com

Daikon Salad

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Pickled Daikon
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. daikon (Japanese white radish)
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sake (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ⅓ cup (Approx 5 Tbsp.) sugar
  • 1 Ziploc bag
Instructions
  1. Peel daikon and cut into ¼ inch slices.
  2. Cut the chili peppers into small pieces and discard the seeds if you prefer less spicy.
  3. Put all the ingredients in a Ziploc bag and rub well.
  4. Remove the air from the bag and close it. Keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. We like to pickle daikon for 2 days. Enjoy!
Notes
Pickled Daikon can be stored in the refrigerator for a month.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

 

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  1. Next time I will try to use the top part for pickling! I pickled some daikon recently using just rice vinegar and sugar.

    Yes it is not easy to find daikon with the leaves tops in the supermarket. But sometimes I do get lucky in the farmer’s market. I usually use the leaves tops in soups. So good! and very nutritious too.

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  2. Nami, we eat a lot of white radishes around here and as a child I always found them too strong and pungent tasting and preferred the small red ones, today I have come to appreciate the palate cleansing abilities and health benefits of white radishes and we, like you do in Japanese cooking, always soak in water and add quite a bit of salt but that salt does extract a lot of water from the vegetable and makes it much more pleasing to the palate. I think it is time, a try an Asian variety of a radish dish, it looks so much more appetizing than the way I present it. Your photography of this dish is amazing – love the colors and the added “greenery”!
    Have a great Wednesday!

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  3. I’m sure I have been meaning to visit your website for a long time now, since I saw your comment in one of the blogs..I’m new to japanese cuisine, but always scared to try them out at home! Your recipes and stunning pictures make them look so inviting. Will visit often now:-)

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  4. You make it looks so easy! Great homemade pickles in a flash! I am a huge Japanese pickle fan when I lived in yokohama one of my favorite things to do was to go to the sogo department store on B1 and taste test all the pickles. However some of the best pickles I have ever tasted was in Kyoto and Kamakura. Wha tis your favorite kind?

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    • Hi Bam! There are so many pickles shops in Japan and I always enjoy tasting in each region. I miss SOGO in Yokohama! My favorite kind? It’s so hard to choose. My mom is into pickles and she buys from different pickle stores all the time. We always have at least 3 kinds of pickles at dinner table. :) I like the one with a hint of shiso flavor… now that I can’t get fancy kinds here, I definitely miss special flavors.

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  5. Ira Rodrigues

    hm I love daikon, the recipe is so simple and i think i will make it with additional bird eye chili. i had some experiment the other day, cookin daikon in Indonesian way as daikon curry with fresh coconut milk base. it was not bad at all

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  6. I like the dual purpose behind these pickles — “chopstick rest”/palate cleanser — a nice reminder to put the fork (or chopsticks) down and thoroughly enjoy what you’re eating. Thanks for your storage tips, too, Nami!

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  7. Healthy and refreshing. I have eaten very spicy ones in Korea. They come in cubes. I think I prefer them sliced into sticks like the ones in the picture above here. Thanks very much for sharing.

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  8. Thanks for sharing this recipe Nami. I am going to make them, I love the spiciness of this radish and pickled sounds really tasty. Beautiful photos as always. Have a wonderful day.

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  9. Kimmi

    I love pickled daikon! My grandmother made it all the time, but I haven’t tried making it myself yet. In our family, we also pickle slivers of carrot with the daikon. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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    • Hi Kimmi! Yes, the carrot makes it bright and pretty! You can add cucumber and carrot to this recipe as well, in case someone is interested in more colorful look. :) Thanks Kimmi!

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  10. That is SO pretty!! I’ve never tried it, but it sounds wonderful. It always amazes me just how different Japanese cuisine is from all others… in my opinion. Thanks for sharing, my friend! xo

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  11. Tina Driz

    I always wonder how to make picked daikon we only eat them in the restaurant. Thanks Nami this looks easy and delicious will buy the ingredients yay! Oh question Nami sometimes I have seen them colored yellow in the restaurant do they have added food coloring? Thanks again have a great day!!!

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    • Yes…there are some that naturally colored, but try to avoid buying unnatural color ones. They are extremely yellow, or red, or… you can tell. :)

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  12. I love this pickles daikons and it looks very lite, Nami. The sugar and the vinegar counter the bit of bitterness of the vegetable. That’s what makes this side dish special because the ingredients compliments each flavors. Thank you, Nami and I hope you are having a good week! :)

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  13. Carolai

    Just what I was looking for, a quick tsukemono recipe.
    Would like to see recipes with koji, tsukemono, chicken, fish, vegetables…..

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    • Hi Jen! I *think* they are same. I’ve bought daikon from an Asian market before, but I want to say the quality is not the same as daikon I can get in Japanese market. I rarely find juicy daikon from Asian market. I don’t know why. It could be just the one I go to…. but I cut daikon in the middle and I see completely dry surface. When I cut daikon from Japanese market, it’s always filled with water and it’s so refreshing. I stopped buying at Asian market for that reason. Is your daikon (Chinese radish) juicy?

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  14. I never knew you could eat daikon leaves! I’ll definitely try them. And I’ll try this recipe, too. I eat daikon only occasionally, and have never made the pickled version. It sounds wonderful, and is easy, too. I really like this – thanks so much.

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  15. Oh lovely! I’ve been craving all things pickled during my pregnancy, and I always order sushi rolls with pickled daikon. I can’t wait to try this! Thank you for sharing! I hope you are having a lovely week!

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  16. This daikon pickle sounds so good and so easy! You’d better believe I am trying it out–especially since I’ve never made any Japanese-style pickles at home before. :) Thanks for the great info!

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  17. I’ve never pickled anything before. I learned a ton from this – especially on picking and storing the Daikon. I love that it lasts for 2-3 weeks. That would be so helpful in my house. :)

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  18. Wow, I had no idea how popular pickled daikon was ;0) – I’ve got to get on it! Just saw this lovely Japanese pickled root over on Sissi’s blog (although she used ‘dried’ daikon…sounds like a very interesting method/twist). I love pickled vegetables of all kinds. The closest approximation I could find over here would probably be parsnip which I think would work nicely. Beautifully illustrated and photographed Nami!

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  19. I checked your post this morning and didn’t have time to leave the comment here. Anyhow…yes pickled daikon is so good, and yours is very simple and delicious. Must try soon! Oh and I love your post as well as pictures…nom nom! 😀

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  20. Hi Nami – Love the chopstick rest play on words! And love pickled anything. Going to make my next pickle with the sake addition, thanks for the good idea.
    I have some catching up to do reading blogs, been so busy training my two new rescued dogs. Looking forward to reading your current posts that I have missed…
    Hope you are well,
    LL

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  21. I actually bought a daikon a couple of weeks ago with the intention of pickling it (it would have been the first time). I was confident that I would find a recipe here for it. Unfortunately, I never got around to using the radish and had to throw it away and now here you are sharing the very type of recipe I wanted to try. Perfect! Now I must go back to the store and pick up a radish!

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  22. いい感じ。さわやかシャキシャキ。きれい!
    ご主人にお子さん見てもらって、ショッピングにでも行って、羽をのばしたらどうですか? 私ならそうするかも。

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  23. Karen (Back Road Journal)

    I was just looking for daikon radish yesterday but our market didn’t have it. I ended up having to use regular red radish in my recipe. I’m bookmarking this for when I am more successful.

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  24. I’m excited to make these pickles, Nami! I love to grate daikon into salads, or slice it to snack on, but haven’t pickled it before. Also, haven’t seen it sold with the tops on – I’ll have to check our larger Asian grocery to see if they do. Thanks for sharing!

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  25. I was so excited when my CSA box started showing up with daikon radishes in it! I’ve got this bookmarked for the next time I get a daikon, I love the idea of having it as a pickled side dish with heavy and or spicy meals.

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  26. Looks very yummy. Crunchy and salty. Perfect appetizer. We love radish in our house, I usually make salad with radish and cucumber. Outstanding presentation, Nami! Thank you for very delicious recipe.

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  27. Coincidence? Telepathy? Or simply Japanese pickles fans think of daikon when it’s cold? This pickled daikon looks fabulous! Such a humble vegetable and so many possibilities! Actually I have some daikon leftover from my harihari zuke, so I will pickle it your way tonight. I have fallen in love with this bowl. It has been a long time I haven’t seen such a beautiful thing! Daikon with tiny bits of chili looks breathtaking in it.

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  28. twobacas

    Thanks for responding to my e-mail.
    I have question on the type of chili you are using. Is it fresh or dried.
    I was thinking of trying the recipe.

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  29. The market had some beautiful daikon the other day which I was tempted to buy, but Bobby’s not too crazy about it. However, I think he would love these since he likes all things pickled. Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to give it a try.

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  30. Kuriicakes

    I loooooveeee pickled daikon :3 First time I had it was in a veggie roll at a restaurant, I fell in love as soon as I bit down into the crispy sweet tangy center. I asked the waiter what it was, because it was just called a “Japanese pickle” on the menu. He explained, and said you can either make it or buy it and it’s been love ever since <3

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    • Hi Kuriicakes! Thank you for writing! There are many kinds of pickles in Japan, and each region has their unique kinds, too. Hope you find the flavor that you really like! It’s fun to experiment. :) Thanks for your feedback!

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  31. Frank McGovern

    Hi Nami, As a younger man I was friends with two lovely Japanese ladies and I spent many enjoyable times sharing meals and my favourite was always diakon pickes and anything green. I love green vegetables!

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    • Hi Frank! I’m happy to hear you like Japanese pickles! Me too, I like all kinds of vegetables and I think my site needs more veggie dishes.. :) Thank you for your comment!

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  32. Dear Nami,

    This is a great idea. I always don’t know what to do with such a huge daikon when I make soup with it and end up using the whole thing. This recipe would be perfect for the other half of the daikon when I next make my favourite pork bones soup with daikon and red dates.

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    • Hi Hatsuho! Yay! So happy to hear you and your children enjoy these pickles! They are little stinky in fridge but tasty especially with gohan! Thank you for trying this recipe! :)

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  33. Diana

    I love pickled daikon… when I couldn’t find daikon, I would use turnips and add carrots, celery and a few pieces of shredded seaweed. Thank you Nami, I’m going to make some for my japanese valentine dinner for my husband.

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    • Hi Diana! Yes that’s true. Japanese pickles are very versatile and we can use many kinds of vegetables. I hope you and your husband will enjoy this recipe!

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  34. I have to say I am really loving the sound of this. I had no idea daikon tasted like radish. I adore radish but they tend to be a bit strong for my tummy woes. I am wondering if this would be better for me. That way I get the taste I love but not the afterbite. Gorgeous photos Nami!

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  35. Patrick

    I made this for our birthday party last weekend. Daikon isn’t a common vegetable in Holland but your dish was the no. 1 hit of the party. Thank you for this easy recipe

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    • Hi Patrick! Thank you for your feedback! I’m happy to hear you and your party guests enjoyed this recipe! I try to imagine how your guests think of these when they first taste it… :) Thanks again for writing!

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  36. Thanks for the recipe. I have stayed in Japan for more than a year and love their 大根の漬物 so much. I have copied down your recipe and wish to try it in one day.

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  37. twobacas

    Hi Nami,
    I have seen this one or two times which is a piece daikon about three inches with three holes in it and
    red chilli peppers stuck in the holes. Was wondering what this was? do you pickle it or
    slice it and pickle it. Thanks for your response….Twobacas

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    • Hi Twobacas! I slice a chili (you can add more than one) and put it in the Ziploc (step #3) to pickle together. I’ve seen the method before to put the red chili pepper in the daikon, too, although I never tried it before. :)

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  38. Sunny

    I don’t like any radish, especially daikon. It is hard to avoid it when you cook only japanese! But i like these carrot-daikon pickles they put in Bahn Mi… I was told that daikon burns fats in some way so it is good to eat with deep-fried foods. I like those pickles from your recipe! I still have to get used to the smell haha but the recipes was EXTREMELY easy and i feel like there is just enough sugar/vinegar, these pickles have a really balanced taste.

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    • Hi Linda! Thank you for catching my mistake. 8 Tbsp is 1/2 cup and that’s a huge difference! Thank you so much for noticing and letting me know! :)

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  39. Pia

    I live in Japan and always have a difficult time finding simple recipes in English. I have discovered your blog now and find your detailed culinary and cultural explanations very easy to follow and fascinating!!! Thank you for creating such a fantastic blog, making me all the more eager to learn Japanese cooking!! I just had a baby, so now I’m looking to lose some weight in a healthy and balanced way, so Japanese cuisine is definitely the way to go! I look forward to reading more of your posts!!!

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  40. This looks fantastic! I’ve never had pickled daikon before but now I have a batch (with carrots and onions in there as well) resting with salt to draw out some of the excess moisture. For those of us avoiding sugar — do you need it to make the daikon pickle or is it just a taste preference and can I use a substitute?

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    • I think sugar and vinegar creates amazing unique flavor and when you avoid sugar, I think the balance will be off (especially for those who are used to eating Japanese pickles). You’re welcome to avoid, but please understand it’ll be much more sour. I would recommend sugar substitute if you avoid sugar. :)

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  41. Gerald

    Hi Nami, Whew! Just went thru all the posted comments about pickle daikon…looking for a better solution to the smell and couldn’t find anything better than wat I’m doing. So will share with you my remedy,
    Soak the sliced daikon in water with ice cubes for about 30 mins then drain and combine with your recipe and
    Store in a Ball mason jar, the air tight glass jar…Really keeps the smell locked in..

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    • Hi Gerald! I wish I knew how to remove the smell. This pickled daikon recipe is one of my favorite, but I couldn’t figure out how to reduce the smell in the fridge… I’ll try your method next time! THANK YOU! :)

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  42. Kanoe

    I just made this, I didnt add sake or the peppers I wanted to try it plain the first time around. I was skeptical at first but after a few pieces I was in love. This recipe is so easy to make and fast! This is something thats always going to be on hand in my household from now on. Ty for this recipe!

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    • Hi Brigitte! Thank you! I looked into it. Some people say you can freeze daikon pickles, but the texture will not be the same. If you freeze, makes to remove all the liquid before freezing. :)

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  43. I love these otsukemono and am coming back to your recipe to make them again. I buy my daikon from my local JA produce market here in Kanazawa and sometimes my neighbors give them to me from their friends’ hatake!

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    • Hi Abigail! I’m so jealous of your fresh ingredients there. I miss Kanazawa and hokuriku very much. I wish I could live there for a few years… Hope you enjoy this recipe. :)

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