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White Radish

White Radish
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Daikon, mooli, or white radish is a mild-flavoured, very large, white East Asian radish with a wide variety of culinary uses. Despite often being associated with Japan, it was originally cultivated in continental Asia.

White radishes are known by several names in English, most commonly daikon. Other names include mooli, Oriental radish, Japanese radish, Chinese radish, Korean radish, and lo bok. In many cases, several terms will coexist in the same locale, referring to different white radish varieties.

The English name "daikon" derives from the Japanese daikon, literally "large root" and is the most common name for the vegetable in North America. However, the greener, rounder Korean varieties are rarely called daikon and are instead usually referred to as "Korean radish". Likewise, Chinese varieties are sometimes called "lo-bok" or "lo-bak" derived from the Cantonese lòhbaahk.

In the United Kingdom with its stronger South Asian influence, the name "mooli", from Hindi muli, is used in addition to daikon.

The name "chai tow" or "chai tau", from Hokkien chhài-thâu, is sometimes used in Singaporean and Malaysian English for the vegetable. Sometimes the Hokkien-derived term is back-translated as "carrot" because the word chai tow can also refer to a carrot. This misnomer gave the title to a popular guidebook on Singapore's street food, There's No Carrot in Carrot Cake, which refers to chai tow kway, a savoury cake made of white radish.

In Japanese cuisine, many types of pickles are made with daikon, including takuan and bettarazuke. Daikon is also frequently used grated and mixed into ponzu, a soy sauce and citrus juice condiment. Simmered dishes are also popular such as oden. Daikon that has been shredded and dried is called kiriboshi-daikon. Daikon radish sprouts are used for salad or garnishing sashimi. Daikon leaf is frequently eaten as a green vegetable. Pickling and stir frying are common. The daikon leaf is part of the Festival of Seven Herbs, called suzushiro.

In Chinese cuisine, turnip cake and chai tow kway are made with daikon. The variety called mooli has a high water content, and some cookbooks recommend salting and draining it before it is cooked. Sometimes mooli is used to carve elaborate garnishes.

In Korean cuisine, a variety is used to make kkakdugi, nabak kimchi and muguk soup. The younger version of the radish is used with the leaves in chonggak kimchi. This variety of daikon is shorter, stouter, and has a pale green colour extending from the top, to approximately halfway down the tuber. The flesh is denser than the Japanese variety and the leaves are smooth in texture which makes them better for pickling. The leaves of a mature plant are often too tough to be eaten raw, and so are shade dried to be used in soups, or boiled and seasoned into potherbs.

In Philippine cuisine, a soupy dish called sinigang is optionally cooked with daikon, known locally as labanos, after rábano, radish in Spanish.

In Pakistani cuisine, the young leaves of the daikon plant are boiled and flash fried with a mixture of heated oil, garlic, ginger, red chili and a variety of spices. The radish is eaten as a fresh salad often seasoned with either salt and pepper or chaat masala.

In Bangladesh, fresh daikon is often finely grated and mixed with fresh chilli, coriander, flaked steamed fish, lime juice and salt. This light, refreshing preparation is served alongside meals and is known as mulo bhorta.

In North India, daikon is popular to make paranthas, salad and garnish.

In South India, daikon is the principal ingredient in a variety of sambar, in which roundels of the radish are boiled with onions, tamarind pulp, lentils and a special spice powder. When cooked, it can release a very strong odor. This soup, called mullangi sambar is very popular and mixed with cooked rice to make a good meal.
In Vietnamese cuisine, sweet and sour pickled daikon and carrots are a common condiment in bánh mì sandwiches.

Nutritional Value:

Daikon is very low in food energy. A 100-gram serving contains only 76 kilojoules or 18 Calories, but provides 27 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.

Daikon also contains the active enzyme myrosinase.

Health benefits of Daikon:

Cancer Prevention:
Daikon is one of many cruciferous vegetables linked in studies with successful cancer prevention. Daikon contains several great antioxidants associated with fighting free radical damage, a known cause of cancer. Research has also shown that daikon juice helps prevent the formation of dangerous chemicals and carcinogens inside the body and helps the liver process toxins.

High In Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that not only combats free radical activity in the body but also offers great immune system support and helps prevent illness such as the common cold. 100 grams of daikon provides 34% the DV of vitamin C. Daikon leaves have a much higher concentration of vitamin C than that of daikon roots.

Antibacterial & Antiviral:
Daikon appears to be able to combat bacterial and viral infections.

Research suggests that high levels of vitamin C and B, such as found in daikon, help to prevent chronic inflammation in the body which can lead to problems such as arthritis and heart disease.

Digestive Aid:
Raw daikon juice is abundant with human digestive enzymes that help the body process proteins, oil, fat and carbohydrates.

Daikon helps the kidneys discharge excess water. A natural diuretic, it may also be helpful in treating urinary disorders.

Respiratory Health:
Raw daikon juice may help dissolve mucus and phlegm and aid in the healthy function of the respiratory system. Its ability to combat bacteria and viral infections may make it an effective combatant of respiratory disease such as bronchitis, asthma and flu.

Skin Health:
Applied topically or ingested, daikon juice has proven effective in preventing and treating acne and other skin conditions.

Bone Health:
Daikon leaves are an excellent source of calcium, which helps promote healthy bone growth and may lower the risk of osteoporosis.

Weight Loss:
In Asia, it is believed that daikon helps the body to burn fat, though this has not been proven. Whether it helps burn fat or not, daikon radish is extremely low in fat and cholesterol, but dense with nutrients, making it a great addition to any effective weight loss program.

Read more at Wikipedia
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