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Takuan (沢庵?), also known as takuwan or takuan-zuke, is pickled daikon radish. Takuan is often served alongside other types of tsukemono in traditional Japanese cuisine, and is also enjoyed at the end of meals as it is thought to aid digestion. In Korean it is known as danmuji (단무지) and is typically added to gimbap or served as a side dish in Korean Chinese cuisine.
Traditional process of making takuan is firstly hanging a daikon radish in the sun for a few weeks until it becomes dehydrated and flexible. Next, the daikon is placed in a pickling crock and covered with a mix of salt, rice bran, optionally sugar, daikon greens, kombu, perhaps chilli pepper and/or dried persimmon peels. A weight is then placed on top of the crock, and the daikon is allowed to pickle for several months. The finished takuan is usually yellow in color and quite pungent. Although most mass-produced takuan is using salt or syrup for dehydrating process to cut process time, and rely on food coloring for that effect. Iburi-gakko(lit.smoked takuan) is eaten in Akita Prefecture. It uses smoking process instead of sun-drying before pickling.
Usually, takuan is washed the excess bran and sliced thinly before serving. It is eaten as a side dish in meals, and eaten as a snack at teatime. Strip-cut takuan is often used for bento. Traditional takuan—using sun-dried daikon radish and pickled in rice bran bed—is sometimes stir fried or braised when getting older and sour. Some sushi rolls use strip-cut takuan for ingredients such as shinkomaki (takuan only), torotaku-maki (fatty tuna and takuan).
Takuwan is mentioned in a science fiction story by Allen Kim Lang called "The Chemically Pure Warriors". The story appears in the science fiction anthology Body Armor: 2000 (ISBN: 0-441-06977-0). In the story colonists of a planet claim that a microbe is responsible for their lack of disease and that, "They cause turnips to become takuwan".
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- Nagamura, Kit. "All at sea in Shinagawa". The Japan Times Online. October 5, 2007. Accessed July 11, 2011.