Life Life

06/02/2020 - 08:09

The salad of early season radish

As white as the stork in the field and as fresh as the well water in the summer, the white radish in early season tastes purely pungent, sweet and cool as the late year rain.

The tasty radish salad with natural aroma

Radish is a typical root vegetable of my village, which is an area of dazzlingly shiny sand. When the winter weather turns mild, the radish grows well. Soon after the radish shoots appear, they rapidly grow into young green leaves, which will also taste good if served with hot pot or pressed cakes.

Then suddenly the radish grows weightily mature and ripe, ready to produce the best taste after undergoing the natural challenges of warm sun and cool fog.

Radish is a versatile ingredient in terms of cooking styles, such as frying, stewing and boiling. As for myself, radish salad is the number one choice as I like something mixed.

It is not very complicated, but radish salad is delicately prepared. White radishes are grated into long thin pieces and soaked in salt water. The radish becomes no longer stiff and reduce in size. The same is done with carrots to add some color to the salad. After that, steamed pork which is sliced into thin pieces and teamed shrimps are added. Those are all ingredients.

The sauce is made from fish sauce, minced garlic, chilly, sugar and lemon juice. Radish and carrot are squeezed before being mixed with other ingredients to make a dish of salad.

The radish sale is on and off. It sometimes brings huge profits, but sometimes the sale is sluggish. I remember one year my village gained a good crop of radish. There were some roots that weighed half a kilo each. Unfortunately, the price was less than 1,000 VND/kilo.

Sometimes, the sale is so sluggish that farmers give radish for free. My mother tries to do everything with radish such as cooking, stewing, mixing radish salad and making radish pickles, but there are still too many radishes left. Instead of harvesting the roots, we have plumper mustard leaves. The stems left on the bed produce purplish white flowers, which look beautiful though a bit sour thinking about the crop.

The radish flavor is special with the earthy aroma and cool, crispy taste. The salad becomes more delicious when it has less pungency and crispy radish. The freshness of radish is coordinated by the fatty pork and the savory shrimps, the sour lemon juice, the spicy chilly and the fish sauce. All mingle into a dish as colorful as a picture with milky white radish, red carrot, and coral shrimps.

Variants of radish salad can be made by adding peanuts, oil, fried onion, etc. I personally like retaining the refreshingly naive flavor and color of the dish. The white color of the radish seems secondarily decorative; in fact, it is the grace in the background – the humble grace.

Try to make a dish of radish salad, then you’ll see it is so true that you can enjoy a mix of natural taste – something of sun, of rain and of sunrise fog.

Story and photo: MAI HUE