Asian Recipes/ Entrees / Appetisers/ Japanese/ Recipes/ Side Dish/ Snack/ Super Simple

Takuan – Japanese Yellow Pickled Radish

02/11/2020 (Last Updated: 01/12/2020)

Yellow pickled radish is the cutest and crunchiest snack in Japan. With just 2 minutes prep time, make your own tasty takuan slices ready to pop into your homemade sushi rolls or eat after a big meal.

Plate of sliced takuan pickles with chopsticks.

Why We Love This

The iconic crispy crunchy texture of these pickles gets us every time, and has to be one of our favourite elements of the cute side dish, aside from it’s flavour of course!

Being able to make this at home in a matter of minutes, while having it last for months in the fridge, makes this the perfect condiment to have on hand for Japanese dishes.

Jar of takuan with slices of the pickled radish on a small plate.

What are Yellow Pickled Radishes? 

Sweet and tart slices of yellow pickled daikon, known as takuan in Japan and danmuji in Korea, are usually eaten on their own as a side or in dishes like sushi and kimbap. It cuts through spice nicely, or some people also eat a few slices after a main meal to aid in digestion. You can also top a few slices over plain rice, or as an added snack to a bento box.

It’s sometimes referred to as oshinko (pickle made with salt) but can also refer to other pickled vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and eggplant. Some variations include pickling the daikon in salt and rice bran, although we think using vinegar is a lot easier to find as the main pickling ingredient.

Credit for the recipe dates back to the late 1500’s, from a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk by the name of Takuan Soho – where the dish now takes it’s name.

Where We Discovered This Recipe

We first saw takuan in slices of fresh sushi (called shinkomaki), whizzing around on a conveyer belt at a restaurant in Osaka. We were immediately intrigued by glowing yellow strips and just had to try it! Chatting with our Osaka mum, Rieko, she mentioned she loves to have a few slices with a cup of tea. We’ll have to try that next!

What You’ll Need

No need to buy store bought, pickling your own takuan couldn’t be easier! Only 5 ingredients and a few minutes prep, and you’ll have these pickling away in your fridge.

  • Daikon – Daikon is long white radish, which is super popular in Asian cuisines – especially in Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
  • Vinegar – We used regular white vinegar for this, but you can sub this with white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar if you prefer.
  • Sugar – White sugar is fine, or for a deeper flavour you can try using brown sugar or palm sugar.
  • Yellow Food Dye – This is to give the radish it’s distinct bright yellow colour. If you don’t like food dye, use a tsp of turmeric instead or leave it out completely.
Ingredients laid out ready to make takuan.

How to make Recipe:

  1. Peel the daikon, removing both ends and cut down the centre. Slice into half moons.
  2. Place them all in a large ziplock bag. Add sugar, salt, vinegar and yellow food dye.
  3. Seal the bag and massage for a few minutes until the daikon is evenly coated.
  4. Wrap up and place in an airtight container in the fridge (to reduce smell). Pickles will be ready in 24 hours minimum and the flavour will only get better each day after.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Leave space – It’s important to have extra space in your bag, container or jar as your daikon radish will release a lot of water as it pickles.
  • Airtight container – Similar to durian, daikon radish can produce a potent smell when pickled, this is normal – just make sure to use an airtight container so you don’t stink out your fridge or kitchen!
  • Thick or thin – Slice the radish thick or thin. For thin slices, it will pickle quicker, and for thick slices you’ll have a crunchier result but it will need longer (ie a few days) to pickle.

FAQs

Why does daikon radish smell?

Daikon is from the cabbage family, so once sliced and pickled, it will give off an odour similar to rotten egg, sulphur and fart! This is why we strongly recommend storing in an airtight container. The pickled radish won’t taste like it smells though, and is only obvious when you first open the container.

Can you freeze takuan?

These pickles are best kept in the fridge, and we don’t recommend freezing them. They have a long shelf life, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

How long does pickled daikon last?

We recommend eating your takuan within 1-3 months, while it’s still nice and crunchy and keeps the best flavour.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Eggplant – If you like the taste, try it with eggplant, and just omit the yellow food dye.
  • Radishes – If you can’t find daikon, feel free to substitute with red radish or watermelon radish.
Jar of freshly made Japanese takuan.

Easy Japanese recipes you can make at home:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and star rating below!

Slices of fresh yellow pickled daikon.

Takuan – Japanese Yellow Pickled Radish

Yellow pickled radish is the cutest and crunchiest snack in Japan. With just 2 minutes prep time, make your own tasty takuan slices ready to pop into your homemade sushi rolls or eat after a big meal.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Pickling Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 3 minutes
Course: Condiment, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Japanese, Korean
Servings: 1 Jar
Calories: 481kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 500 g daikon Japanese Radish
  • 100 g sugar ½ cup
  • 20 g salt 1 tbsp
  • 20 ml vinegar 1 tbsp
  • 6 drops yellow food dye or 1 tsp tumeric powder

Instructions

  • Peel the daikon, removing both ends and cut down the centre. Slice into half moons.
  • Place them all in a large ziplock bag. Add sugar, salt, vinegar and yellow food dye (or tumeric).
  • Seal the bag and massage for a few minutes until the daikon is evenly coated.
  • Wrap up and place in an airtight container in the fridge (to reduce smell). Pickles will be ready in 24 hours minimum and the flavour will only get better each day after.

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Leave space – It’s important to have extra space in your bag, container or jar as your daikon radish will release a lot of water as it pickles.
  • Airtight container – Similar to durian, daikon radish can produce a potent smell when pickled, this is normal – just make sure to use an airtight container so you don’t stink out your fridge or kitchen!
  • Thick or thin – Slice the radish thick or thin. For thin slices, it will pickle quicker, and for thick slices you’ll have a crunchier result but it will need longer (ie a few days) to pickle.
  • Why does daikon radish smell? Daikon is from the cabbage family, so once sliced and pickled, it will give off an odour similar to rotten egg, sulphur and fart! This is why we strongly recommend storing in an airtight container. The pickled radish won’t taste like it smells though, and is only obvious when you first open the container.
  • Can you freeze takuan? These pickles are best kept in the fridge, and we don’t recommend freezing them. They have a long shelf life, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
  • How long does pickled daikon last? We recommend eating your takuan within 1-3 months, while it’s still nice and crunchy and keeps the best flavour.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Takuan – Japanese Yellow Pickled Radish
Amount per Serving
Calories
481
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Sodium
 
7858
mg
342
%
Potassium
 
1135
mg
32
%
Carbohydrates
 
120
g
40
%
Fiber
 
8
g
33
%
Sugar
 
112
g
124
%
Protein
 
3
g
6
%
Vitamin C
 
110
mg
133
%
Calcium
 
135
mg
14
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Takuan - Japanese Yellow Pickled Radish

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    I had this
    24/09/2021 at 4:49 pm

    This is always on my dish, made my own pickled radish, ginger, onions etc. I love cooking Japanese and Korean dishes they’re deliciously healthy.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      29/09/2021 at 10:57 am

      Awesome! Agreed with those cuisines too, we cook them ALL the time at home. 🙂

  • Reply
    Elise
    21/09/2021 at 4:06 pm

    This is really delicious and was great in homemade sushi! May I ask if the pickles need to be stored submerged in liquid? I haven’t got enough liquid to cover them in the jar. How long will they last like this?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      22/09/2021 at 4:56 pm

      So glad you liked it Elise! It should be submerged if possible. You can always top up with a little extra vinegar if you need to make sure everything is covered. It’s best to use up within a week or two. 🙂

  • Reply
    Teddy Baker
    20/07/2021 at 3:58 am

    Not authentic at all; misses the pungent takuan fragrance. Give it a miss.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      20/07/2021 at 9:55 am

      Hi Teddy, if you’re looking for the traditional recipe of sun drying daikon first then pickling in rice bran for months with added flavours, this is not the recipe for you. This is a quick at home and accessible recipe that uses vinegar instead, which we mentioned in the recipe.

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