Mooli is a form of giant radish that is also known as daikon. This name is the Korean word for this popular East Asian root vegetable, which is used in the cuisine of many nations. People can eat it in both raw and cooked form, and it is suitable in a dizzying array of dishes from salads to stir fries. Mooli is also included in kimchi, a famous Korean pickled food.
This giant radish is more formally known as Raphanus sativus. The root can get quite large, and it is snow white in color, with a flavor much milder than that of other radishes. A well cultivated one is crunchy with a faint peppery bite, and it looks rather like an overgrown carrot when it is whole, although the leaves and stems more closely resemble that of a radish.
Raw, mooli makes a great addition to vegetable platters and salads. In parts of Asia, it is carved into fanciful shapes and used as an edible garnish. Some people enjoy eating this radish out of hand, especially in regions where people believe that it has potential health benefits. Its mild flavor makes it suitable for younger consumers who might not find the sharp bite of smaller radishes terribly appealing; mooli can be added to lunchboxes for a snack, for example, or added to salads for younger eaters to create some texture without introducing an unwanted flavor.
Cooked, mooli can be used in a wide assortment of dishes. It is often included in soups and stir fries, for example, and it can also be shredded or grated and served on top of foods like stir fried vegetables. The radish is also commonly used in Indian cuisine, especially in curries or as a filling for vegetarian stuffed breads. It is also served in pickled form in a number of Asian nations.
People who want to grow mooli at home should select a well drained, sunny spot in the garden in the early spring. It can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked, in regions where frost limits the growing season, and it can potentially be sown into the late spring. As the radishes grow, gardeners should keep them moist but not soggy, and periodically thin the sprouts to allow the roots to mature. After 30 to 60 days, a cook can harvest the radishes and store them in a root cellar or use them in various cooked dishes. Chefs should be aware that extremely large radishes can get bitter; this is also the case with radishes that are exposed to light as they grow, so gardeners should consider mulching the plants to avoid exposing the roots to sunlight.