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Nourishing, Warming Daikon and Chicken Soup

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Daikon radish and chicken wing soup

Culinary expert Wu Wen shares a recipe for daikon radish and chicken wing soup using the seasonal vegetable. The dish, which is perfect for cold winter days, has a simple flavor and an appealing appearance.

When daikon are in season, Wu often buys them whole at supermarkets. “Tasty daikon are thick from top to bottom,” she notes.

Daikon somen often appears on dinner tables and is made by cutting daikon into strips and simmering them.

“It’s very useful because it cooks quickly,” Wu said. “It’s light and easy to eat, so even if you buy a whole daikon, you’ll likely finish it in no time.”

On this occasion, Wu explains how to make a simple soup with daikon somen and chicken wings. The chicken wings should be tebasaki wing tips with the tebanaka, or the middle part of the wing, attached. It is easy to extract the juices from the tebanaka, which has more meat than the tebasaki part and is thus more satisfying to eat.

First, cut the chicken wings into two pieces — tebasaki and tebanaka — and boil to remove excess fat and scum. When removing chicken wings from a pot, it is best to remove them individually using chopsticks to avoid picking up scum. “This one step is all it takes to make a beautiful broth,” Wu explains.

The next step is to make the soup using the boiled meat. Put the meat, sake and other ingredients into a pot and simmer until the juice is extracted from the meat.

While the soup is simmering, use a slicer to shred daikon radish into thin strips about 10 centimeters long. “Cut along the fibers so the texture remains,” Wu advises.

Add the shredded daikon to the pot and cook for about five minutes. Season with coarse salt and top with shredded white leek.

The shredded leek accents the color of the dish delightfully and goes well with the clear broth. Upon sipping the soup, the gentle umami of the chicken broth spreads over the taste buds.

The daikon radish soaks up the flavor of the soup, has a delightful texture and — like thin somen noodles — is easy to eat. The meat is tender and the entire dish is deeply nourishing and warming.

Daikon namul

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Daikon namul

Wu also shares a recipe for daikon namul, which serves as a perfect accompaniment to the daikon and chicken wing soup.

Peel around 200 grams’ worth of daikon and cut into thin strips. Sprinkle with two pinches of salt, lightly rub and let sit for 10 minutes. Gently squeeze out the water, and mix with ½ teaspoon of doubanjiang, ⅓ teaspoon of Sichuan pepper and ½ tablespoon of sesame oil. “I recommend using the top part of the daikon, which has some sweetness,” Wu said.

Daikon and chicken wing soup

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 4-6 chicken wings: tebasaki type, with tebanaka middle part attached (about 300 grams total)
  • 400 grams daikon radish
  • ½ leek (white part)
  • 15 peppercorns

Directions:

1. Cut the chicken wings into two parts: tebasaki wing tips and tebanaka

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cut the chicken wings into two parts.

2. Boil the tebasaki and tebanaka in a pot with plenty of water. Take the chicken wings out of the pot and drain of water.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Boil the chicken wings

3. Put the chicken wings, 3 tablespoons of sake, 3 cups of water and black pepper into a separate pot and heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Peel the daikon radish and slice into thin strips. Cut leeks lengthwise into thin strips and soak in water. Add the daikon to the pot and let simmer for five minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, turn off heat, and top with shredded leeks. Divide into small plates.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cut daikon radish into strips using a slicer