Tender pieces of fish meets soft, juicy rounds of daikon in this sweet soy sauce based simmered dish that is perfect for those unexpectedly cool nights during the year. It’s especially perfect in the winter when all you want to do is sit inside with a steaming bowl of delicious food. Warm, flavorful, and comforting, with the taste of the mild fish is tempered wonderfully by a bit of ginger, buri daikon is an ultimate comfort food.
Buri daikon literally just means yellowtail fish (buri) and daikon (a type of white radish). Pretty self explanatory, really. When I saw this dish featured in the final episode of Koufuku Graffiti, I just knew I’d have to try it out someday….
For me, the moment that solidified my desire to try my hand at making buri daikon was when Ryou watches Kirin eat her buri daikon and realizes that the special ingredient in her grandmother’s cooking was simply the joys of eating with her loved ones. It’s touching and sweet, and really encompasses everything Ryou’s been discovering about food, family, and love during the entire series…
About the recipe:
First of all, salting and pouring boiled water over the fish until it begins to turn opaque helps get rid of its strong “fishy” taste and smell, and it a necessary step in making this recipe shine. Don’t be tempted to skip it, or else your dish may be unpleasantly “fishy”…
Secondly, microwaving the daikon really helps speed the cooking time up. It’s a great shortcut that uses the water from rinsing your rice to keep the daikon nice and white. When using the water from rinsing your rice, do a preliminary rinse first, drain the water, then submerge your rice again in water and use the water from this second rinse for your daikon.
And, one more note about this recipe: This recipe was adapted from one that I found on the internet. I have modified it pretty heavily for two reasons and feel like I should explain why. First, the original recipe was way too salty! And, secondly, I have found that yellowtail is rather prone to falling apart and getting dry if cooked very long…
Therefore, I have arranged the recipe so that the daikon is cooked first. This gives the daikon a head start on soaking up the sauce, while also adding daikon flavor to the sauce. Then, the fish is added and briefly cooked in the daikon-flavored sauce. The fish is soon removed to allow the daikon to finish cooking, and to further reduce the sauce in the pot. Finally, the fish again just before serving, allowing for a quick reheat and a nice coating of sauce.
About the ingredients:
Yellowtail or Japanese amberjack is a type of fish that is known in Japan as hamachi or buri. This fish has a good amount of fat in it, so it’s quite tender and buttery, so treat it gently when you’re cooking it so that it doesn’t fall apart too much. I’m not entirely sure where you can buy yellowtail in the USA (I’m going to assume you can get it at a well stocked fish market), but if you’re in Japan, it’s sold in every major grocery store.
Daikon is a type of radish that is white in color, mild in flavor, and that can grow quite large. It’s a big part of Japanese cooking, showing up as pickles, cooked in stews and soups, and even grated into sauces. Daikon is available in many standard and specialty grocery stores.
Buri Daikon (Simmered yellowtail and daikon)
Makes ~4 servings
- 4 pieces yellowtail/amberjack fillets, ~1.5 inches thick
- 8 – 10 slices of daikon, each 2 cm (~1 inch) thick (about 1/2 a daikon)
- Water used to rinse the rice
- 2 tbsp finely julienned ginger
- 1 cup dashi stock
- 1/2 cup sake
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Mitsuba or minced green onions (garnish)
- Place fish in a colander and salt liberally on all sides. Let stand for 30 minutes. Pour boiled water over the fish on all sides until the flesh just turns opaque and white. Gently pat dry and set aside.
- While the fish is salting, peel and wash 1/2 a daikon radish. Cut into 1 inch rounds and round the sharp edges using a knife or vegetable peeler. You should have 8 – 10 pieces total. Place into a large, heatproof bowl. Submerge daikon with water produced from washing rice after the first rinse.
- Cover daikon loosely with plastic wrap or a microwave cover, and microwave on medium high for 4 minutes. Stir the daikon and continue microwaving for an additional 4 minutes. Check the daikon for doneness with a skewer. The skewer should pierce the daikon easily. Rinse in warm water (careful, it’s hot!), pat dry, and set aside.
- In a pot with a large surface area, combine 1 tbsp julienned ginger, dashi stock, sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Add daikon and cook until the daikon begins to turn amber, about 15 minutes. Add more dashi stock if the sauce evaporates too much. Turn the daikon over periodically to ensure even cooking.
- Move the daikon aside to make room in your pot. Add yellowtail in an even layer in the sauce, cover, and cook at a low simmer for 12 minutes, flipping the fish halfway through the cooking time. When the fish is just cooked through, gently remove yellowtail from the pot and set aside.
- Spread the daikon out in the pot and continue cooking until it is amber and golden, and the sauce has reduced, about 20 – 30 minutes. Again, turn the daikon over periodically to ensure even cooking.
- Clear room in the pot by stacking the daikon, and add the cooked yellowtail back into the pot. Continue gently simmering until the yellowtail has heated through again, about 5 minutes. Turn the fish over once to ensure an even coating of sauce.
- Taste sauce and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve with Japanese short grain rice and top the plated buri daikon with the remaining finely julienned ginger and mitsuba.
Source: Adapted from this recipe on Cookpad.