Watermelon Radish

watermelon radishWhat’s it called?
Watermelon radish, Japanese radish, Chinese radish, watermelon daikon, Asian red meat radish, beauty heart radish, roseheart radish, misato rose radish, Raphanus sativus L. ‘Red Meat’, shinrimei / xīnlǐ měi luóbo / 心里美 (China).

What is it?
This originally Chinese radish (strangly enough often called “Japanese radish”) is bigger than the radish we know in the West, sometimes much bigger. The literal translation of the Chinese name is “beautiful heart”, because while the outside looks like a boring white turnip (“dipped upside down” in green or purple) the inside is a sensationally fuchsia red and looks like a watermelon. The taste and texture of a watermelon radish is more like daikon than radish. Mildly peppery with a firm bite, but less watery than a radish. It tastes really nice!

How to use it?
Just cut the radish in slices, strips, cubes, discs, julienne, brunoise or when you have one of those gadget-machines in spaghetti like strips. You can braise or grill them, then the taste and colour will mellow down a bit. Also nice in salads, just raw. Perfect for pickling with a little rice vinegar, sugar and salt. You can use them in any recipe that calls for radish or daikon. Keep refridgerated.

Tips, tricks & recipes

  • Recipes: winter radishes (e.g. roasted, fermented, in a risotto, etc)
  • Not that difficult to grow yourself if you can find the seeds.
  • Can be a cool substitute for the meat in steak tartare. Serve with capers, mayo, etc.