Takuan (沢庵), also known as takuwan or takuan-zuke, is a popular traditional Japanese pickle. It is made from daikon radish. In addition to being served alongside other types of tsukemono/Japanese-style pickles in traditional Japanese cuisine, takuan is also enjoyed at the end of meals as it is thought to aid digestion.
Takuan is made by first hanging a daikon radish in the sun for a few weeks until it becomes flexible. Next, the daikon is placed in a pickling crock and covered with a mix of salt, rice bran, optionally sugar, daikon greens, kombu/Dry seaweed, and perhaps chilli pepper and/or dried persimmon peels/even flowers for colouring. A weight is then placed on top of the crock, and the daikon is allowed to pickle for several months. The finished takuan is usually yellow in colour, although most mass-produced takuan rely on food coloring for this effect.
Takuan is popular also in South Korea, and is called danmuji (단무지). It is used as a filling for gimbap, or as an accompaniment to Korean dishes, typically jajangmyeon.
Here is a simple basic recipe to make when you get hold of plenty cheap daikon. Since it is vegan in nature, it shoild please everyone!
Check the extra recipe for ideas!
INGREDIENTS: Bear in mind that the bigger the batch, the better!
-Daikon: 10~15 with their leaves!
-Rice bran: 15 % of the dried daikon weight
-Salt: 6% of the dried daikon weight
-Brown Sugar: half a tablespoon
-Chili pepper: half one, chopped, fresh
-Konbu/dry seaweed: 3~5 cm piece chopped thin
-Fruit peel (persimmon, orange according to colour): 2 fruits
-White sugar: 1 tablespoon per daikon
Wash the daikon with their leaves. It is important to dry them witheir leaves as to prevent a loos in quality. Place them to dry in a spot well exposed to the sun and wind. Let them dry for 1~2 weeks. Bring them inside at night if you think morning dew will come on them!
They will be ready the moment they bend easily.
-Wipe daikon with a clean towel.
Weight the daikon then and prepare rice bran (15% of daikon weight) and salt (6% of daikon weight).
-Cut the leaves with the end of the daikon. Cut enough of the daikon so that the leaves hold together. Put leaves aside. You will use them later!
-Put each daikon (work on one at a time) on a working table. Roll it by solidly pressing your palms on the daikon all along its length to soften evental hard spots and even the humidity inside.
-In a separate bowl pour in the rice bran, salt, brown sugar, chopped konbu/seaweed, chopped chili pepper and white sugar. Mix well.
-Use a large pickles jar/bucket.
First line the bottom with some of the pickle mixture.
Line a first layer of daikon, leaving as little sapce between as possible.
Sprinkle with pickle mixture.
Fill any space left with the daikon leaves.
Repeat same procedure with the rest of the daikon.
-Line the top with the remaining daikon leaves.
Press down with your hands, putting all your weight behind your hands.
Sprinkle some extra salt over the top to prevent mold from forming.
You can use a special pickle vat as in picture above and screw down the lid for maximum pressure.
If you uve a normal vat, plce a clean wooden or plastic circle on top of the daikon and lay a weight/stone at least 3 times the weight of the daikon.
In the latter case cover with newspaper and a lid to prevent any dust insid.e
-Pickle for 4 weeks in winter, or 3 weeks in summer.
Clean them quickly in clean cold running water before cutting and serving them!
SECOND RECIPE: Traditional but the process is the same!
-1) Dried daikon: 12 kg
-2) Rice bran: 1.5 kg
-3) Salt: 720 g
-4) Kaki/Persimmon (frozen): 5~6
-Chili peppers: 10 (cut in halves9
-Konbu/seaweed: 40 cm (to be chopped)
Look at the pictures, the process is the same!
Soft enough to bend
Cutting the leaves away
Pickle mixture added with kobu, chili peppers and persimmons
Fitting the daikon in tightly
Covering with the pickle mixture
Covering with the leaves
Putting the weights on top!
Two months later.
Washed, cut and served!