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Sautéed Daikon Stars
(Japanese Sidedish)

​​This recipes was shared by a Kiwi WWOOF Host family as a part of Kelsey's fieldwork in Central Otago. The recipe was originally taught to the Hosts by one of their Japanese WWOOFers. While the Hosts had been successfully growing Daikon for years, they did not have a big repertoire of dishes that they could use it in and relied mostly on serving it in salads or pickling it. As such, they were very pleased to learn this traditional Japanese winter dish from their WWOOFer. Since then, it has become a staple in their household. Using mostly ingredients from their permaculture farm, the dish is seen as an excellent example of sustainable self-provisioning, and a nice antidote to often heavy winter meals.


1 pound daikon
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
3 teaspoons sake
2 tablespoons mirin

4 cups dashi stock (or water with 1 teaspoon bonito dashi powder or 1 tsp miso paste)


  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. The outer skin of the daikon is thick, so you need to remove both the thinner outer skin, as well as the thick layer just beneath it with a vegetable peeler.

  3. Slice the daikon into pieces that are 3/4- to 1-inch thick. Try and cut the slices as similarly as possible, so the daikon cooks evenly.

  4. After the daikon is sliced into round pieces, trim a thin strip all along the bottom and top edges of each daikon piece, essentially "rounding out" each piece. Then scar the surface of the daikon by cutting horizontally in the center, offset the blade clockwise 10 degrees, and continue to make shallow lines with the knife, making a star pattern.

  5. In a medium pot, add the daikon slices with dashi stock, sugar, and soy sauce and sake (reserve the mirin for later use).

  6. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook for 10 minutes.

  7. Skim any foam and impurities from the surface.

  8. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 2 hours until the daikon pieces are mostly cooked through and slightly brown in color after having absorbed the soy sauce.

  9. Before all of the dashi is cooked away, remove from heat, stir in the mirin, and transfer to a sauté pan.

  10. Carefully add daikon and cook for 2 – 3 minutes each side to add a crispy outer layer to the daikon. They should be very tender at this point.

  11. Turn off heat, and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the ingredients to meld.

  12. Serve daikon pieces, with or without some of the simmering liquid, in small individual plates.


  • This is a very common dish that is served in the winter, usually with steamed bok choi or kale and poached fish.


  • It can also be served with a poached egg, on a bed of the sauteed greens.

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