Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Daikon Hashbrowns

For me, the biggest challenge of eating better and lowering my carb intake is not giving up sugary desserts or bread. It's keeping myself away from potatoes. I. Love. Potatoes. In all their forms. My dream life involves spooning mounds of loaded mashed potatoes onto deep fried potato skins, topping them off with a sprinkling of crispy shredded hash browns, and eating them EVERY NIGHT for dinner. With a double side of fries.

Sadly, I'm picky about "fauxtato" recipes. I despise the taste of cauliflower once it's cooked, which means that the zillions of delicious-looking low carb recipes in which cauliflower masquerades as potatoes are completely wasted on me.

Recently, however, I finally got to taste a potato-imposter I had only read about in low carb cookbooks. Meet the daikon:

I was stunned when I spotted a few hunks of the Japanese radishes sitting there among the other veggies at my local grocery store. My heart skipped a beat when I remembered that they were fabled to create a mean hash brown substitute, so I snatched one up, took it home, and went to work.

First, I removed the skin with a vegetable peeler and grated it up using a box grater:

I found the shreds only slightly more watery than the ones you would get from a potato, and since I like my hash browns as crispy as possible, I squeezed them dry between some paper towels:

I melted some butter (olive oil would do just fine, too) in a skillet and threw in the shreds, spreading them out into a thin layer:

I let them cook, stirring occasionally, until they were browned to my liking, and I served them up next to my cheese omelet:

The verdict? These things were surprisingly good. The texture was spot on, and the taste was somewhat potato-ish, but with a little extra bite. I'll bet if I added some onions, or even some cheese and bacon crumbles, they might even fool someone. And for only 5g of carbs -- 2.3 of which are fiber -- in an entire cup of daikon, I'd say this recipe's a keeper.

The only downside was the smell that lingered in the kitchen for a few hours after cooking. You know how some vegetables just create a unique stink when heated, even if they taste delicious (I'm talking to you, cabbage)? This was one of them. Next time, I'll just have to remember to use the kitchen fan and light a candle.