Takuan, also known as takuan-zuke, is a pickled Japanese daikon radish. The pickle is yellow in colour, comes in thick strips and is frequently served along with other kinds of tsukemono (Japanese-style pickles) in typical Japanese cuisine.
Japanese daikon radish is generally sweet and mild in taste and has a good crunch to it. Hence, people often add the leftovers to stir-fries or salads. Takuan is also considered to be helpful with digestion. Hence, it is served in bento or after you’re done with your meal.
Takuan is also widely consumed in South Korea where it is known as ‘danmuji‘. One can easily find them being added to the filling for Korean-style sushi (also known as gimbap) or served along with other rice or noodle dishes.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The invention of takuan dates back to the Edo period. In Japan, the credit for the origin of takuan is given to Takuan Sōhō, a Japanese Buddhist.
Traditionally, this Japanese delicacy is made once a year and, following the conventional methods, this pickled daikon raddish is first sun-dried (kept hanging in the sun for some weeks). This process helps dehydrate and preserve the takuan. Next, the radish is pickled using salt and different spices, which usually continues for several months. Occasionally, takuan is also smoked.
- Daikon radish - 1
- Salt - 1 tbsp
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Rice wine vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Ground turmeric - 1 tsp
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Begin by peeling the radish. Once done, then slice it thinly as preferred. Keep in mind that some recipes tend to keep the entire radish as is and only cut it after it’s been fermented for a long time.
- Next, add some salt and keep it aside for 2 hours. This will help drain all the moisture.
- Now, take a saucepan and add salt, sugar, vinegar, water and turmeric to it. Bring it all to a boil.
- Here, turmeric is added to give the dish its typical golden colour. Traditionally, the radish tends to turn yellow in colour naturally after it’s been allowed to pickle for a long time. But today, in order to make things quicker, turmeric is used in the recipe.
- Make sure you keep stirring the pickling mixture and wait for the salt and sugar to dissolve completely. Keep it away for some time and allow it to cool down.
- Remove any excess moisture from the radish and place it in a sterile, airtight storage container.
- Transfer the pickling liquid to the container containing the radish, and check that all sides of the radish are completely covered.
- Now, keep it aside for at least 2 days and wait. If possible, wait for around 1 month. This will ensure that the ingredients soak in all the flavours and enhance the pickle’s taste even more.
- Once prepared, you can serve it along with a bowl of rice or miso soup.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 24Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 352mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 0g