In China, we have a famous saying:
Eat radish/ daikon in winter, ginger in summer (冬吃萝卜夏吃姜).
In our tradition, we believe in the Yin (阴) and Yang (阳) balance of the universe, so as in our body. In Summer because we sweat a lot, the heat inside our body, aka Yang (阳), runs out leaving the Yin (阴) inside. For this reason we should eat ginger, which has the function to get rid of cold, in the hot days. As for Winter because we tend to stay in the warm indoor places and wear thick clothes, our body becomes hotter than it should be. Vegetable in the radish family belongs to the Yin side, so it is recommended to eat it in winter.
This saying has been regarded as a golden rule for generation and generation. I heard my grandma saying it, then my Mom as well. Especially when I was young and refuse to eat the Daikon in Winter, my grandma would take out this sentence, and told me “Daikon keeps you away from doctors!”
After growing up I’ve discovered the beauty of Daikon. The best way to eat it is to add it in soup. Because it absorbs the flavor of the soup, and become super tasty. And I am super happy to find it in the veggie stalls in the neighborhood (last year I couldn’t find it anywhere in town). It has been a great surprise at the end of Year 2017!
The recipe below has been my favorite soup for the winter. Every time I would make a big pot of it, and eat it for 1 – 2 days. My son also love it when I prepare rice noodles accompanied by this beef daikon soup for breakfast.
- Beef (preferred to have both meat and bone)
- Onion x 1
- Chopped green onion
- Black peppercorn 1 tsp
- Cinnamon stick x 1
- Star anise x 2
- Nutmeg x 1
- Funnel seeds x 1/2 tsp
- Bay leave
- Dried chili (optional)
- Soy sauce x 2 spoons
- Bean paste x 1 spoon
- Cut the beef meat into chunks. Put the meat and the bone together into boiling water to get rid of blood and extra fat.
- Boil water in a separate big pot. Take the beef of step 1 out and put them into this pot directly, without rinsing them under cold water.
- Add in all the spices and flavorings into the pot.
- Put the lid on and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, cut the daikon into slices (or big chunks if preferred). Boil the daikon in hot water for 1 minutes to get rid of its strong scent, then take them out for later use.
- (after simmering the beef for 1h30m) Put the boiled daikon into the beef broth, and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Taste and add in some salt if needed.
You can pair this soup with a bowl of rice. Or, as I preferred, eat it with noodles.