A lovely, yet extremely easy Japanese salad to prepare is arugula and daikon radish sprouts (kaiware) salad with a simple dressing of fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt.
The premise of Japanese cooking is to highlight the natural and fresh flavors of foods. Often, a typical Japanese meal will include several small “okazu” main and side dishes, and it would seem completely natural to incorporate two different types of Japanese salads served in very small portions. For example, this arugula and kaiware (daikon radish sprouts) salad, along with a small portion of onion salad. You can never get too many vegetables in a meal!
What differentiates this arugula and daikon radish sprouts (kaiware) salad from others, is that both the arugula and daikon radish sprouts are naturally spicy, adding a mild peppery flavor profile to this otherwise simple salad. For this reason, pepper as an ingredient is not incorporated into the lemon dressing.
- If you’re using pre-washed, packaged arugula leaves, refresh them by rinsing them with cold water. Drain well to remove excess water, or use a salad spinner to dry the leaves.
- Remove kaiware (daikon radish sprouts) from the package and rinse well to remove any loose brown seed shells. Cut off about one inch of the bottom where the sprouts are attached to a piece of cotton. Discard roots.
- Prepare the lemon dressing. In a bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well.
- In a small bowl, toss together arugula and kaiware. Just before serving, add dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and gently toss together.
- Plate the salad mixture into small individual serving plates and drizzle the lemon dressing over the greens. Alternatively, the dressing may be tossed together with the salad ingredients in advance, but a caveat is that the dried bonito flakes will quickly absorb the dressing and wilt.
Use pre-washed, packaged organic arugula for ease of use.
After rinsing, remove as much excess water from the arugula leaves so as not to dilute the delicate lemon dressing.
While fresh squeezed lemon juice is the best for this recipe, if none is available, substitute the lemon dressing with ponzu citrus soy sauce or a bottled sesame dressing or other favorite salad dressing.