Daikon Simmered with Squid (Ika Daikon)

Yesterday I realised I had a dying daikon in the fridge. One or two more days and I would have to throw it away, but I simply had no idea what to do with it. First, advised by Robert-Gilles (from Shizuoka Gourmet) I wanted to pickle it, but then I realised I have never had cooked daikon (long white radish) and decided to look rather for warm dish recipes. Daikon simmered with squid I saw in Street Café Japan by Emi Kazuko seemed too unusual too ignore it.

If, like me, you are sceptical about the simmered daikon and even more about its pairing with squid, do not even try to guess the final taste. I have loved this dish, but it didn’t resemble anything I had ever had before. The simmering mixture of dashi, soy sauce, sake and mirin creates a delicately flavoured, warming and light meal. I am very happy I have discovered this simple recipe because it is one of these Japanese comforting dishes which I will never have a chance to discover in any of the restaurants I know.

I have slightly modified the recipe.

TIP: This dish can be prepared in advance and reheated (on low heat or in a microwave).

Preparation: about 1 hour

Ingredients (serves 1 – 2): 

10-15 cm thin daikon (or less if it’s very thick)

1  15 cm squid (cleaned)

400 ml dashi (Japanese stock, see here the standard and the simplified recipe)

4 tablespoons soy sauce (or more if using home-made, saltless dashi)

2 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons sake

English mustard, ground sansho (Japanese pepper)

(sesame seeds)

Peel the daikon and cut into 1 cm slices.

Wash the squid and cut it into thick rounds. Cut the tentacles in two or more pieces (depending how long they are).

Put both ingredients in a big saucepan, cover with dashi and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Afterwards add mirin, soy sauce and sake.

Let the dish simmer until 1/2 of the liquid evaporates.

Serve with English mustard or/and sansho pepper.




34 Replies to “Daikon Simmered with Squid (Ika Daikon)”

  1. “a dying daikon in the fridge” – for a moment there, I thought I was in a sci-fi movie…;) Ah, a white radish, got it! What a lovely, unique dish Sissi. Your Japanese seasonings sound perfect. As I may have confessed to you in the past, I’m a big ninny when it comes to eating certain animal/fishy things and squid is one of them – it always tastes like rubber to me. My husband, on the other hand, loves squid and would be delighted with a dish like this. I love the simplicity of this preparation and that you have left the squid unbattered. Lovely Sissi.

    1. Haha! Well, it was withered and really looked like a dying thing. I thought daikon was an international name of this vegetable. I will update the post. Thank you for letting me know it might sound mysterious.
      I have forgotten about your dislike of squid. In our house it’s the other way round: I love the slightly chewy “rubbery” texture (of course not too rubbery!), but my husband is not very fond of squid. This dish made me realise I haven’t cooked quid for ages, so unfortunately I risk posting more squid dishes 🙁 Hopefully some of them can be made with shrimp, chicken or maybe even tofu! Thank you for the compliments!

  2. A Dying Daikon … could be the latest ballet hit! Sequel to Swan Leek. Never mind … 😛 Too much rum fumes.
    I love daikon! We usually braise it with chicken or pork or cooked in a soup with pork ribs flavored with dried squid. So, this would be flavors that I’m accustomed to and would certainly love. I already love the side dish where they cook daikon in soy and mirin, the squid would be a bonus here.

    1. Thank you, Ping. Frankly it looked sad and dying (not wrinkled or mouldy like some vegetables, but just tired and sad…). It was so good, I think I will also experiment cooked daikon in other dishes. Your braising ideas sound great. It’s funny, because the other day I have almost bought dried squid in a Japanese shop (it was in a snacks section and looked very appetising).

    1. You are totally right: hard core Japanese dish is what I thought when I had it. I think people who dislike Japanese cuisine, might hate it actually, but on the other hand it’s so delicately flavoured they might not know it’s Japanese. I haven’t thought about the colour, but you are right of course!

  3. What an interesting combination!!! I grew up drinking daikon/carrots soup, in fact anytime I walk into the house and smell something pungent, most likely my Mom was cooking daikon soup… Though she’s never combined squid with daikon before. This will be a recipe we discuss the next time I go visit! Have a good weekend Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Jeno. Strangely daikon which I suspected of a very strong smell when cooked hardly smelled anything! I’m wondering if it’s thanks to the simmering mixture (especially dashi). Have a lovely weekend too!

  4. Never combined both, squid and daikon, before but it sounds delicious. I quite often simmer daikon as an ingredient in soups or hot pot dishes. First surprisingly plain in taste but after some simmering it absorbs the flavour of the broth very well (great with miso too).

    1. Thank you so much, Kiki. Here it has also absorbed the taste, as you say. It was my first experience with simmered daikon and also the first with simmered squid (I have always stir-fried it). I must try daikon with miso, thanks for the suggestion.

  5. I have never cooked with daikon. I always look at them rather suspiciously when I see them at the greengrocers. I really must give them a try. They do seem to be becoming more popular. I’m intrigued by your recipe.

  6. I think anythign simmered in dashi, soy, sake and mirin has got to taste good. I would throw the most dubious ingredient in and still be certain it’ll be alright. But daikon and squid are two of my favourite foods so I’m in no way sceptical!

    1. You are right. These ingredients always give extraordinary, delicate flavours combination and strangely seem to suit everything!

  7. Both the daikon AND the squid would be unusual for us…but I’d certainly like to taste this dish! Thanks for sharing…and enjoy your weekend!!!

  8. Too unusual? I can assure you that any Japanese will say it’s just a very common combination. Buri (adult yellowtail) and daikon is another.

    1. Hiroyuki, this is why I am mystified by the Japanese cuisine. Something so obvious and common for you is most unusual for me! (And apparently for many of my blogging friends 😉 ) Thanks for the yellowtail suggestion. I will try it when I see it in my fish shop.

  9. Hi Sissi,

    I love the description of the dish – you really make it sound so intriguing. I always figured that cooked radish would be quite bitter and chewy… though I guess not! If you say it’s tasty, and mixed with mirin, dashi, and the wonderful flavour of squid, it must be a really tasty light lunch! Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea – I must give it a try because when I buy a daikon I almost never eat all of it!

    1. Thank you, Charles, for the compliments. I was also afraid it would get bitter, “cabbagy” and mushy, but it is not bitter at all! It’s so delicate even the squid taste is not hidden. So you too know the syndrome of the dying daikon 😉

  10. Love this dish Sissi – it’s very comforting. I love ika and we have one in the freezer that I need to figure out what to do. My husband wants it grilled, but now after seeing this, it’s so tempting to make this. Daikon will soak up the soup and must be delicious..esp next day!

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