In Malaysian culinary, there lays a famous dish referred to as “fried carrot cake”. However the irony in the name is that there were never any carrots in the ingredients for this scrumptious dish. There were white radishes instead! Radishes are grown and consumed throughout the whole world. There are different varieties of radishes grown all the way to spring and summer radishes. Here, we will focus on the ever present radish in Malaysia, the Chinese white radish. This mild flavored radish goes by many names like daikon or “mooli” from its Hindi name, icicle radish and most familiarly “lo bak”. The word daikon means great root in Japanese, “dai” as in large and “kon” means root.
The color of the radish found in Malaysia is usually creamy white but the black skinned varieties do exist. The white radish is spicy and tart. So runners the next time you do your grocery shopping, add the Chinese white radish to your list!
Radishes are so popular in the world that in Oaxaca, Mexico, they celebrate a festival referred to as “Night of the Radishes” where radishes are carved into intricate sculptures of animals, dancers, saints, conquerors and everything imaginable.
The world’s heaviest radish in the Guinness World Records in 2003 was grown in Japan and weighed a whopping 31.1kg!
The spring and summer radishes grown in Europe have interesting names like “Cherry Belle”, “Bunny Tail”, “Sicily Giant” and “French Breakfast”.
With marathons just around the corner, start stacking up on Vitamin C since it offers support to the immune system and beats the dreadful common cold. We, humans, are unable to synthesize Vitamin C because we lack the enzyme and it stored in the body for a short period of time. A white radish has a whopping 74.4mg of Vitamin C that makes it the ideal vegetable for your antioxidant supply. And, every runner needs Vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body.
Dishing the Daikon
Scratching your head on what to make with this vegetable? Pickle it, steam it into delicious dim sum cakes and grate it raw to serve with sashimi. The root is an extremely versatile vegetable as there are endless ways to munch on the Chinese radish. Not to worry about adding kilos to your hips, as the Chinese white radish has only 24 calories and is filled with fiber. Although it’s low in calories, this vegetable is packed with energy giving nutrients.
Beating the Big C – Cancer
Yes lacing up those running shoes will help in fighting the big C but add on the radish to your super foods. The Chinese white radish is packed with anti-cancerous compounds called antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. These free radicals at high concentrations can damage components of cells, especially damage to the DNA. This plays a role in the development of cancer.
Ever get plagued by an upset stomach during a marathon? Yes we understand this is uncomfortable and troubling for runners out there. Guess what! The white radish is one of the best food sources of digestive enzymes. The white radish contains the enzyme diastase, amylase and esterase, and these enzymes help our body digests with greater ease. Now we know why raw radish daikon is part of a Japanese meal as it will assist in the digestion of oily foods such as tempura.
How do you pick one up?
Ensure they are evenly sized with no bumps on the surface if possible. Older white radishes are duller in color and texture.