Takuan is pickled radish commonly seen garnishing Japanese meals. It’s the bright yellow, crunchy, sweet, salty tsukemono (Japanese pickle) that is accompanying most bento, in sushi rolls, or even just on top of plain freshly cooked rice.
The bright yellow color is traditionally from turmeric, but commercially produced takuan gets its neon yellow color from food coloring.
I usually just buy takuan from Tokyo Central or Mitsuwa but I had been super busy lately that I just didn’t want to drive the 20 miles or so to get one.
I happen to have all the ingredients for a quick daikon pickle so I decided that I’ll make it one day after work and let it sit in the fridge, picking out a piece whenever I want to eat some.
The first time I tried to make takuan, I dried the daikon first before pickling but that was too much work and didn’t turn out quite as I wanted it to.
This recipe just involves salting the sliced daikon, rinsing and squeezing it of excess water, then placing it in a jar with the sugar/vinegar mixture. That’s it!!!
A note though that if you let this sit for a couple of days or so, it tastes so much better! I try to do double or triple the recipe so that I’ll have enough to last that long! 😊
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1 firm daikon radish (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 – 3 drops of yellow gel food coloring (or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
1. Peel the daikon and slice into about 1/4 to 1/3 inch rounds. Place in a small bowl.
2. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for at least a couple of hours on the counter.
3. Meanwhile, place the vinegar, sugar, and food color in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
4. Remove from heat and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Set aside to cool.
5. Rinse and squeeze the excess water from the radish and place into a canning jar.
6. Pour the cooled vinegar solution in the jar and cover.
7. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 days before serving for the best flavor.