Pickled daikon leaves is one of my Dad’s favorite toppings on his rice. It’s a simple taste and each bite adds a flavorful crunch. I haven’t yet met another family that eats daikon leaves like we do, so it’s definitely high up on the unique list despite how easy it is.
Daikon is the Japanese word for their long, white radish. It’s often used in Japanese cooking and in Hawaii most people will say daikon. You probably won’t find daikon with their long, stemlike leaves still attached at your usual grocery store. But so far, Mom has almost always found them at local farmers’ markets. Also, the Korean markets in Hawaii sell young daikon leaves in the vegetable section, too.
Pickled Daikon Leaves
- Fry pan
- Daikon leaves
- Hawaiian sea salt
- Olive oil
- Brown sugar
- Shoyu Optional.
- Hot sauce Optional.
- Sesame seed oil
- Green onions Optional.
Pickle the daikon leaves
- Add Hawaiian sea salt to the daikon leaves. Let it sit for a while, then mix and massage to get most of the water out. When you're close to getting most of the water out, give it a final twist and squeeze like an old rag.
- Cut daikon leaves into small pieces.
Cook the daikon leaves
- Set the fry pan to medium and add a dash of olive oil.
- Add daikon leaves and stir to spread the oil around.
- Add a dash of brown sugar. You can use any sugar you'd like, but Mom feels brown sugar has an extra level of flavor.
- Optional: add shoyu and/or your favorite hot sauce. Mom used sriracha since it was available and easy. If you do add shoyu, it will tinge the daikon leaves brown. So if you're going for looks, it might be better to leave it off. However, she recommends using it as it contrasts with the brown sugar nicely and has it's own unique flavor.
- Cook on medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes.
- Right before turning the stove off, add a few drops of sesame seed oil. This will enhance and deepen the flavor.
- Optional: Cut up some green onions and mix it in with the leaves.
- When I asked Mom why she used Hawaiian sea salt (she was adamant that it had to be Hawaiian sea salt), she thought about it for a while and said "I think it's sweeter".
- I did not include any measurements in this recipe. That's because Mom didn't measure anything and threw in pinches of each ingredient once or twice.