Preserved Turnip / Daikon Radish

In the language of Asian packaging, "Turnip" actually means Daikon Radish. Sometimes there is even further confusion with Mustard Greens. Preserved Radish is sold in two forms, Greens and Roots. Both forms are used in stir-fries.

Preserved Radish Leaves Greens / Chung Choy:   These preserved greens are not pickled, just dried with a whole lot of salt. They need to be rinsed well before use. Some of my older cookbooks mention them packaged in two forms, flat leaves or leaves rolled into a ball, both in plastic bags. I haven't seen the ball form around here, it may have gone out of style, a relic of the days before plastic bags. In any case, if the recipe calls for "a ball of chung choy", those balls weighed about 1-1/2 ounces each.

Salted "Turnip" is popular in stir-fries, giving them a unique and almost smoky flavor. It is generally chopped fine and added near the end of cooking.

This form is extremely salty and needs to be rinsed well before use. Kept tightly sealed in a cool dry place this form will keep indefinitely at room temperature. Ingredients: "Turnip", salt, water. Actually the package the photo sample came in said "Mustard", but the main title says "Turnip" (mustard greens are generally pickled).

Preserved Radish Roots:   In this form it's much more obvious that "Turnip" means "Daikon Radish". The photo specimens were packaged as whole roots but more commonly they are packaged as cut strips. A somewhat shorter, stubbier variety than the long carrot shaped Japanese daikon is used. This is a salt fermented pickle which is soft and flexible but retains quite a bit of crunchiness. Once the vac-pac plastic bag is opened, it should be kept tightly sealed and refrigerated, where it will keep for many months. Ingredients: "Turnip", salt, water.

More on Cabbage Pickles.

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