Sorry for the radio silence…no, I haven’t been hiding from Thanksgiving (I think). More like flexing my culinary muscles in time for the week long holiday (yep…we start Monday night…so yes, theoretically a week). In the meantime, I have amassed some nice new cookbooks (thank you book sale), made some delicious pies, and baked cookies for bribery. I also went on a slight Korean food mode that week, too, because it was cold and I wasn’t feeling well, and as much as I love southern food, sometimes I need something that I grew up with. So for this week there’ll be two family recipes, both of which I use a lot in the winter.
This is a recipe for the adventurous. Radish isn’t a pretty commonly liked vegetable, not like potatoes, and it’s got a slight bitter aftertaste. And it’s more commonly eaten pickled, raw, in a salad, in tacos, with salt and butter on a baguette. But in Korean food, we eat it a lot (it’s called moo, yes, as in a cow mooing) and the variety we eat are enormous. Sometimes they’re thicker than my legs. I kid you not. They’re not same as daikon radishes, but the daikon comes pretty close. They’re kind of like the equivalent of sweet potatoes- you can let the radishes grow underground all winter, especially if you keep the ground warm with mulch.
I found some lovely daikon radishes (Lil Farm) and watermelon radishes (Hurtgen Meadows Farm) at farmers’ market, and thought I’d make radish soup, a recipe I learned by watching my mother cook. She’d start by chopping up a little ground beef, some soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic and use that for the base. When all were cooked, she’d add water, then radishes, and let them cook for a while until the radishes were soft (and sometimes fell apart when you lifted them with a spoon). Add some scallions and sesame seeds, and it’s all set. Eat with rice and a little kimchee, and you have one of my favorite childhood meals.
I do have to caution you that the flavor is not for everyone- my partner is not partial to this soup- but if you like the flavor of radishes (and maybe turnips) this might be your thing.
I don’t have the exact numbers, but it’s really hard to mess up.
-a bunch of radishes (not the small globe kind, or the french breakfast kind. use the big kind- like daikon), about 2-3 lbs, cut into matchstick pieces
-as much garlic as you need, minced
-fresh grated or powdered ginger
-soy sauce, about 2 TB or so
-sesame oil (dark roasted is good), about 1 TB
-toasted sesame seeds
-one bunch scallions, chopped
In a pot, add all of the above except scallions and sesame seeds. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes until the radishes are soft/to the point of falling apart. Taste to see if it is salty enough- if not, add 1 TB of soy sauce to taste. Add scallions and let simmer for about 2 minutes. If you have rice, put it in the bowl and spoon the radish soup over it, and garnish with sesame seeds.