All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Kaiware daikon / daikon radish sprouts

A standard sprout in Japan that comes with crispy stems and a pungent taste, which naturally remind of  fresh daikon radish. It makes a great garnish for any dish, including steaks, grilled fish, hiyayakko chilled tofu, fried or grilled tofu, sashimi, miso soup and nimono simmered dishes, and works really well in temakizushi hand-rolled sushi, sandwiches, salads, sunomono with rice vinegar dressing, gomaae with sesame dressing ... the list is endless.

"Kaiware" literally means "open shell," implying the cotyledon (first set of leaves, often in heart or shell shape). The word technically refers to most young sprouts (including broccoli and buckwheat) with that shape of cotyledon. However, kaiware is usually used as a shortened name for kaiware daikon, probably because it was the first vegetable sprout to become popular nationwide in Japan. In the old days, it was grown in sand beds and was mainly used at upscale restaurants. Hydroponic commercial production started in the 1960s in Fukuoka Prefecture in southern Japan. By the 80s, kaiware daikon was widely available for families all over Japan, and that was when I was introduced to this little vegetable. I had long thought kaiware daikon was a modern vegetable, but it was mentioned as "osai" in Wamyorui Jusho, a 10th-century dictionary, and also as "sawayake" in Utsuho Monogatari, a 10th-11th century storybook.

The most common type has light green leaves and silver white stems, as shown in the center of the top photo. There are several leaf and stem color variations, and some taste spicier than others (above, the purple leaf type is the spiciest). The kaiware in the photo are shorter than what you find in stores, as I grow them in sunny spots. When grown in a dark room, they grow taller (and are then moved to a sunny spot to make leaves greener).

Kaiware daikon shares nutritional characteristics with daikon radish, including diastase (amylase) and oxidase digestive digestive enzymes and Vitamin C (47 mg/100 g ... higher content than daikon root).

21 kcal/100 g; 93.4% water, 2.1% protein, 0.5% fat, 3.3% carbohydrate, 0.6% ash

Recipes with kaiware daikon

Try kaiware daikon in the following recipes

(Last updated: June 27, 2018)

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