The other day, I got asked a very strange question: If you are to eat only one kind of vegetable for the rest of your life, what would you choose? It took me a while but I said 大根（だいこん/daikon radish）.
The reason is it is so versatile. 大根（だいこん） literally means “big root” and people think that it is the white root part that is edible but the leaves are also very rich in many nutrients such as Vitamin A, C and K, potassium, iron and calcium. If you leave leaves on (no pan intended), the white root goes wrinkly and soft. That is the reason why you don’t see leaves on them in shops, but because I grow my own (local green grocers don’t carry them), I eat the leaves as well. I usually chop them finely, stir fly them with a bit of oil, season it with soy sauce, mirin (sweetened rice wine) and sesame seed oil. It goes really well with white rice.
The actual radish part has enzyme to help digestion, so it’s good to eat with meaty and/or oily food. It can be eaten raw, can be boiled, stir-fried, and even dried. The bottom picture is 大根（だいこん）おろし (grated daikon). I use this ceramic grater （おろし器（き）） and grate it raw. That can be made into a dipping sauce for steaks, tempura, hot-pot dishes and noodles. My husband is not really a fan of cooked daikon but he likes daikon salad with citrus dressing.
Summer daikon is quite hot (sharp), but if you cook it, the hotness goes away. If you are eating it raw, after grating or slicing it, put a small amount of vinegar and leave it for a while, the hotness will become less noticeable.
One important use of daikon is I make a cough medicine with it! Cut the white part into small (5 to 10 mm) cubes and cover that with trickle or honey. After a while, a lot of juice comes out of the daikon and the mixture becomes a runny syrup. It does not taste particularly good but it stops coughs like a miracle! If you have a bad cough, try it!! If it doesn’t work, then it’s time to go and see your doctor!