I finally gave into temptation. Does cooking in a clay pot really make a difference? I’m not certain, but this newly-acquired La Chamba is so beguiling, I find myself looking for excuses to cook with it. I’m just grateful I don’t live anywhere near here, or hoarding of all manner of clay cookery would definitely ensue.
Sesame Braised Daikon with Mushrooms and Ginger is just the kind of hearty dish meant to be slow cooked in a clay pot. Once it’s done and the cover lifted, one’s patience is rewarded with the release of a luscious mix of savory aromas. Like all radishes, daikon is high in vitamin C, and contains enzymes that aid digestion, particularly of starchy foods — attributes that explain my cravings for it at this time of year. I used oyster mushrooms, locally grown shiitake mushrooms are difficult to find but are quite suited to the daikon. The original recipe includes chicken, here some shredded leftovers were stirred in at the end, an entirely optional step if you prefer to keep it meatless.
Sesame Braised Daikon with Mushrooms and Ginger
3 bunches scallions, green part cut into 1 inch pieces, white part sliced thinly
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 pounds daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced or torn into bite-sized pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 inches ginger, peeled and grated
2 cups stock
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 whole star anise pods
1 to 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, more to taste
– Heat oven to 350°F. In a 3 to 4 quart Dutch or flame-proof clay oven, heat the peanut and sesame oil. Add the scallion bottoms, daikon, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and beginning to take on color. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for another minute.
– In a small bowl, whisk together the stock, sherry and soy sauce. Pour over the vegetables, add the star anise, and cover. Transfer to the oven and cook for 45 minutes, or until daikon is tender. Stir in the scallion greens, and season with the rice wine vinegar and more sesame oil to taste. Serve with steamed rice.
Note: If using a clay pot, place in the oven before turning the oven on, and increase cooking time if needed.
Recipe adapted from Melissa Clark for the New York Times.