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Tag: vegan

Soy Glazed Potatoes

Soy Glazed Potatoes

Whenever I tell people that I don’t love potatoes, they gasp as if I just said I hate kittens. But it’s true, they aren’t my fave veggie by a long shot. I usually find them kind of bland and boring. Generally when I want a read more

Granola

Granola

Like many college students, I had a serious carb addiction. But not just any addiction, it was very specific. In the dining halls, we had multiple tables set up for cereal (this was before they had the towering plastic dispensers). And at these tables, I read more

Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon

Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon

I’m not one for making rigid New Year’s Resolutions. I’m gonna eat the carbs and drink the wine. But this *is* a good time to reflect on your health in general and your overall eating habits. One thing I am always interested in is finding more delicious ways to include a diverse range of plant based food into my diet. We’ve had some health issues in our family this year so it’s taken on a particular importance for me. That’s why I will be participating in Veganuary, the movement to encourage people to eat vegan all of January. 31 days of vegan meals is a great way to challenge yourself to try new foods and new techniques.

Which brings me to today’s Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon. You might not see this dish on many Japanese menus here; perhaps it’s not considered as sexy as sushi or gyoza or ramen. But this is just the kind of classic home cooking you would find in everywhere in Japan. Your grandmother makes it, it’s in bento boxes sold at train stations, and you’ll find it at many grab and go food spots.

Simple, nourishing, plant forward dishes that celebrate seasonal vegetables are the backbone of traditional Japanese cuisine. In this recipe, dried daikon radish and other veggies are simmered in a flavorful broth. These braised types of dishes are known as nimono and along with tsukemono (pickled veggies) are regular parts of a typical meal. Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon is wonderful served hot, cold, or at room temperature so let’s get into it.

ingredients for kiriboshi daikon

Daikon radish is a beloved vegetable and it’s particularly popular in the winter when other vegetables used to be scarce. Eaten raw, cooked, and pickled, it’s versatile and nutritious. BUT not gonna lie, it does smell pungent. And the dried form when it’s soaking is particularly pungent. But please do not let that put you off. The smell dissipates as it cooks. Plus there are so many foods that are delicious but smell. So let’s lean into smelly foods and embrace the funk.

 

Kiriboshi Daikon is dried strips of daikon radish. You can find it in bags in the dried good sections of well stocked Asian markets, or online. Just like other dried foods, say mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes, it needs to be reconstituted in hot water. Look for a pale color inside the packages. Kiriboshi daikon tends to darken over time and the flavor gets stronger. It’s still perfectly edible. For research purposes, (also known as forgetting what I have in the pantry), I have cooked several older packages and they were fine, but the overall look is not that appealing, like you added too much soy sauce to the pot.

kiriboshi daikon in water

The daikon will quadruple in volume. While it soaks I prep the other ingredients.

shiitakes daikon

Vegan cooking is a great time to practice your knife skills:

carrot kiriboshi daikon

Another ingredient that may be unfamiliar to you is the tofu cutlet. Tofu cutlets are a super convenient product because the tofu is already fried, which adds another nice element of flavor to our Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon. I keep them in the fridge alongside other tofu containers. You can use any tofu product here: aburaage (thin sheets of fried tofu), Yuba (tofu skin that has a chewy texture), or regular tofu. If you choose regular tofu, go for a firm one that will hold its shape in the braise. Use any leftover cutlet in my Lemongrass Tofu Rice Salad.

sliced tofu simmered daikon

Now everything is prepped and we’re ready to start cooking. One of the great things about Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon is that once the prep work is done, the cooking is mostly hands off. Just put everything along with the ingredients for the broth in the pot and let heat and time do its thing.

broth simmered kiriboshi daikon

Kiriboshi daikon has a toothsome but tender texture when done. It will not cook into a melt in your mouth feel. This makes a good amount that refrigerates well. You can reheat leftovers or just eat it straight out of the fridge.

I love to make meals out of veggie sides any time of year, and it’s especially useful when meal planning for Veganaury. While the Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon is cooking, steam some rice and roast some Maple Miso Glazed Squash and throw together my Korean Cucumber Salad. In less than an hour, you will have a vegan feast full of exciting textures and flavors that will make you think, “Oh yeah, I can definitely eat like this for at least a month”.

Are you doing Veganaury this year? Drop a comment and let me know, and of course remember to tag us in all your glorious food pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

 

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recipe care kiriboshi daikon

Simmered Kiriboshi Daikon

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30m minutes
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 5060g (1 small package) kiriboshi daikon 
  • 3 cups boiling water (for soaking daikon)
  • 1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 6 pieces fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ fried tofu cutlet (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 Tablespoons neutral oil

Broth:

  • 1 ½ cups shiitake/kombu stock or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup reserved soaking water  
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons sake

Instructions

  1. Trim the stem from the shiitakes and discard. Slice the shiitakes into thin pieces. 
  2. Put the kiriboshi daikon in a colander and rinse under running water.
  3. Put the washed daikon into a medium bowl and cover with water. Rehydrate for 20 minutes. (It will quadruple in volume). Save ½ cup of the soaking liquid, and squeeze the water out of the soaked daikon. Cut the daikon into thirds so it is not so long.
  4. Cut the tofu cutlet in half horizontally into 2 thinner pieces. Then cut it into thin strips.
  5. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add carrots, shiitake mushroom, and kiriboshi daikon to the saucepan and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add tofu strips and stir. Add the Broth ingredients to the saucepan, mix and bring it to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring several times until only a small amount of liquid remains. The daikon will have cooked to a toothsome tender texture.
  8. Serve immediately. 

Notes

*This dish is just as good hot, room temperature, or cold from the fridge.

 

Broccoli Tofu Patties

Broccoli Tofu Patties

Broccoli is polarizing. I know fully-fledged adults who will only touch it if it’s buried under a blanket of melted cheese, or raw and dunked in a vat of ranch dressing. And I get it. Broccoli is often overcooked, mushy, and bland. And a lot read more

Broccoli Shiitake Shumai

Broccoli Shiitake Shumai

It’s always nice when everyone at the table can enjoy the same meal and no one feels left out. My beautiful friend Ellen Kanner has been making sure that vegans have delicious and exciting food on her table with her wonderful blog Soulful Vegan, her read more

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad

It feels like it’s almost too hot to eat these days, let alone cook. That’s where this Cucumber Tomato Salad comes in. Summer produce at its peak doesn’t need much in the way of embellishment, but a quick dressing with some umami rich favorites keeps this out of run of the mill salad territory. Juicy tomatoes, crunchy and cooling cucumbers, drizzled with a tangy and nutty dressing…this is what you need when you can’t even fathom turning on the oven.

Although this salad features cucumbers and tomatoes, you could easily swap out the veggie combinations for either what’s in season at that point, what’s in your fridge, or what you prefer. So avocados and radishes, roasted cauliflower or eggplant, blanched green beans or bean sprouts, or even some crumbled tofu stirred in are all good options. Can’t stand the heat but still need to eat? Forget the stove and let’s get chopping!

ingredients cucumber tomato salad

I start making my Cucumber Tomato Salad by washing and prepping the veggies. I usually reach for the long, thin European cucumbers or the smaller Persian ones. Both of them are more crunchy and less watery, which will keep your salad from turning mushy, and they also have thin unwaxed skin that doesn’t need to be peeled.

diagonal chunks cucumber tomato salad

For the tomatoes, get whatever looks good. Large heirloom tomatoes, or smaller grape/cherry ones will all work here. Unlike the rest of the country, Florida grows in the winter, so my tomatoes are simple grocery ones. I prefer brown kumamotos which are widely available, juicy, and flavorful.

tomatoes chopped

onions

Since this is such a speedy simple dish and we do eat with our eyes, I take care to compose my Cucumber Tomato Salad in an appealing way on a nice platter or deep bowl. This one was made by my dad during his ceramic phase. This salad can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated. Keep this salad undressed as the dressing will quickly be diluted by the watery veggies if tossed ahead of time.

composed salad

The Tomato Cucumber Salad Dressing

It’s really this dressing that elevates this salad into something you’ll be craving all through these warm days. For kids and adults who may frown at vegetables, a great sauce or dressing can really turns things around. Fresh and interesting flavors can help motivate those who are unenthusiastic. And we need to break the ranch crutch. So until you can get your table-mates excited for your veggie masterpieces, keep it fresh by introducing different kinds of vegetables with new flavors.

For this dressing, the workhorse is sesame. Sesame seeds feature prominently in Asian cooking and a deep roasted sesame flavor is particularly prized by Japanese palates. You’ll see all sorts of sesame dressings and sauces lined up at the grocery store and gourmet food sections in department store basements. Our dressing pairs freshly toasted sesame seeds with toasted sesame oil, ginger and garlic to bring a little zing, plus rice vinegar and soy sauce which provide a refreshing tanginess. Even though I always buy already toasted sesame seeds, I toast them for a few minutes again because nothing beats that freshly toasted aroma and flavor. Don’t skip this step as you’ll be richly rewarded.

I like to coarsely grind the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle, keeping some good texture and grit for the dressing. There’s something so satisfying about using these old fashioned pieces of kitchen equipment. Grinding the sesame in this way allows you to do it more slowly, letting you see your progress, and also gives you control over small quantities that may be more difficult to work with in large food processors or blenders. Finally, a mortar and pestle releases the oils in the seeds better.

If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can also make this dressing in a blender or food processor. Place all of your prepped ingredients into the work cup and blend/process until you have a thick dressing.

 

toast sesame seeds

 

Normally with other Asian cuisines, the flavors are more robust and bits of garlic and ginger are appreciated. But Japanese food embraces subtlety, so I use a Japanese style grater to get the ginger and garlic silky smooth. You can also do this manually with a knife and chopping board, but keep mincing until your garlic and ginger are extra fine.

The veggies can be prepped, and the dressing made ahead of time, making this salad even more of a perfect summer staple. Keep the Cucumber Tomato Salad and dressing separate until serving though so the cucumbers stay crunchy and the veggies don’t get discolored. My preference is to just serve the dressing at the table so everyone can help themselves. If the dressing has been sitting for a while, give it a quick stir.

I hope this Cucumber Tomato Salad inspires you to get back in the kitchen for at least a little while this summer, and enjoy a cooling and healthful meal. Take a minute to let me know what you think, and of course don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!

Looking for more salad inspo? Check out my Noodle Salad, Wild Mushroom Salad, or this Brussels Sprouts one!

 

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recipe card cucumber tomato salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: salads
  • Cuisine: Pan-Asian

Ingredients

Scale

For the Salad:

  • 1 European cucumber or 4 small persian cucumbers
  • 2 large tomatoes- or a mix of any kind is fine, about 2 cups.
  • ¼ red onion 

For the Dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and grated ginger 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or minced fine
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar 
  • 4 Tablespoon light colored soy sauce (regular is fine too)
  • 4 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Wash the cucumber. Trim the ends and then cut it in half lengthwise and slice it diagonally into chunky bite-size pieces.
  2. Wash the tomatoes and then cut them in half and then into wedges, slices, or attractive chunks. 
  3. Slice the red onion into very fine pieces. Rinse the onion in a colander under cold running water and then drain the water completely. Set aside.
  4. Toast the sesame seeds in a clean dry pan over medium heat for several minutes. Be sure to stir the sesame seeds to keep them from burning.
  5. Put the sesame seeds into the mortar and grind using a back and forth motion. You want a coarse grind where some of the seeds may still be whole.
  6. Add the ginger, garlic, sugar, light colored soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil to the mortar bowl. Stir to combine and then transfer to a small pitcher or serving container.
  7. Divide the cucumber mixture into four individual bowls or one deep platter. Top with the tomato and the red onion. Serve the Cucumber Tomato Salad immediately with the dressing on the side.

Notes

*Even though the sesame seeds are already toasted, I like to re-toast them in the skillet. This step brings out more of the toasty, nutty flavor.

*I like to keep the dressing separate until serving since it will draw water from the veggies and you will end up with a very runny unattractive looking salad.

*You can make all of the components ahead of time and covered until ready to serve.

Keywords: salads, tomato, cucumber, summer, sesame seeds,