Healthy, umami rich and moreish, Pickled Daikon is one of the most popular pickled vegetables in Japan. You can make an authentic pickled daikon radish at home. Master this pickled daikon recipe today, and start adding it to your favourite dishes in no time!
I just love pickled daikon and have done since I was a kid! It’s crunchy texture and mild taste makes it the perfect accompaniment for just about anything. My mother used to serve it as a side dish to just about everything, and we loved it.
You can serve this pickled daikon radish as an appetizer with just about anything. Think sake, wine, plain rice, salad, ochazuke (Japanese green tea rice), sandwiches and more. I even snuck it in to my sour cream potato salad and people loved it.
Andy went crazy for this Japanese pickled daikon when he first visited Japan. He discovered it in a bento box, asked what it was, and then kept asking for it to be added to things if it wasn’t already.
While there are a few ways to make Japanese pickled radish, read on to master the easiest, authentic pickled daikon recipe you’ll find.
Bring joy in your life and share it with loved ones. Read on!
Why you’ll love this pickled daikon
Japanese pickled radish is called daikon no tsukemono. Tsukemono means pickles in Japanese. And daikon is one of the most popular pickled vegetables tsukemono in the country.
Daikon means horse radish in Japanese. It’s a favourite during winter because it’s sweeter then. But you’ll find it eaten year-round.
The daikon has a crisp texture, and a mild, slightly sweet flavour. The inside is super moist. This is why this magical vegetable absorbs sauce or dashi (Japanese stock). This is why people love it!
The skin of daikon is nutritious and has some health benefits, but it’s usually removed because it’s slightly bitter, though I just think it’s peppery. This pickled daikon radish recipe removes the skin.
Is pickled daikon healthy?
Vegetable pickles are super healthy. That’s one of the reasons they’ve been used in everyday cuisine in Japan for hundreds of years. Pickled radish is rich in gut-boosting probiotics. (source)
What is daikon?
It’s one of the most popular vegetables during the winter in Japan. It’s a long and tubular root vegetable. The skin is edible but is slightly bitter and peppery. The inside is juicy, sweet and peppery in taste. The texture is crisp.
Where can you buy daikon?
Daikon is a winter radish, and is a long white vegetable. You can find it at local supermarkets. If not, try local Asian or Japanese grocery stores.
Ingredients for pickled daikon radish
Rice vinegar: Use Japanese rice vinegar for pickling daikon. Keep one in your pantry so that you can make sushi rice, or can add to salad, ramen, gyoza dipping sauce or various Japanese and Western cuisines. If you don’t have it, apple cider vinegar works too.
Sugar: Daikon radish is white. My suggestion is to use unwashed white sugar like beet sugar or lightly coloured cane sugar. Granulated cane sugar dissolves easily.
Sake: Do you need it for this recipe? Yes! Sake is fermented, like wine, and is used traditionally for this recipe. It helps to induce the umami of daikon.
Once you master the basics of this recipe, you can explore more. Add some ingredients and enjoy pickling with:
- pepper corns
- red chili pepper
- coriander seeds
The variations are limitless. Let me know how yours went in the comment section below!
How to make pickled daikon
Pickling a horse radish is straightforward. If you plan to save them for long in the fridge, make sure your container and equipment are clean.
How to cut daikon for pickles
Daikon is all edible – from the leaves to the skin. I don’t use the skin for this recipe. You can use a peeler to remove.
After removing the skin, cut both ends and cut vertically into two. Then cut into about ⅕ inch (5mm) slices. This is a standard size served at home and in restaurants in Japan.
If you use pickled daikon for salad only, you can use a Mandolin peeler, and slice thinly.
How to pickle daikon
Simply combine the ingredients, and make the seasoning sauce. Drizzle it over the sliced daikon. Place a lid or cling film (kitchen wrap) on top, and leave it in the fridge.
You may feel the sauce is not enough at first but no worries. After a few hours, the water is released from the daikon slices.
You can eat the pickle 2 hours later, and for the maximum result two days later is the best. You’ll notice the difference.
Place pickled daikon, and drizzle a few drops of soy sauce, or dip in the soy sauce – but don’t over season with soy! Or sprinkle red chili, and serve. Enjoy!
How to store pickled daikon
You can save it in an airtight container with the pickling sauce for a month in the fridge. Make sure the container is super clean before you start pickling. I wash the container with kitchen detergent and hot water, and dry it out completely.
Does pickled radish need to be refrigerated?
Yes. Keep it in the fridge.
Is pickled radish gluten-free?
Yes! Our pickled radish is gluten-free. It’s also vegan friendly. Just make sure you use gluten-free soy sauce when you enjoy the pickles with it. It’s also vegan friendly!
Substitute for daikon
If you really cannot find it, try with:
- Red radish
- Korean radish
More pickling recipes
- PICKLED GINGER (SUSHI GINGER, GARI)
- UMEBOSHI (JAPANESE PICKLED PLUMS)
- BENI SHOGA (RED PICKLED GINGER)
Pickled Daikon Recipe
- 1 lb daikon radish
- 3 tablespoon rice vinegar (45ml: or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt (or Kosher salt)
- ⅔ cup sugar (150g: I use beet sugar or any unwashed cane sugar)
- 1 tablespoon sake
- yuzu skin (for topping: optional)
- ▢dried red chili (for topping: optional)
- Add vinegar, salt, sugar and sake to a small bowl and whisk until all the ingredients are evenly combined. Set aside.
- Remove the skin of the daikon radish. Cut the daikon into half vertically, and cut them into slices about ⅕ inch (5mm). (note 1)
- Place the sliced daikon radish onto a clean container one by one (I use a ceramic or glass container).
- Drizzle the vinegar mix over the daikon slices. Cover the container with a lid or cling film (kitchen wrap). Leave it in the fridge. The pickled daikon is ready after two hours but two days is my ideal for more flavour.That's it! Serve immediately. Enjoy!