Asian Recipes/ 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.

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★ 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.
  • 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

Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 120g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 7858mg | Potassium: 1135mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 112g | Vitamin C: 110mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 2mg
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Takuan - Japanese Yellow Pickled Radish

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