Pork Belly and Daikon Radish Stew

English speakers often call a bad actor a "ham", but in Japan we would compare him to a white radish and say "daikon actor"!

Pork Belly and Daikon Radish Stew
Photographed by Takeshi Noguchi

Recipe by
Eiko Oba






Calorie count is per serving.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 1/2 daikon radish (500 g)
  • 1/2 daikon radish greens
  • A pinch of salt
  • 200 g pork belly (for barbecue)
  • A pinch of vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp sake
  • 1/2 piece ginger (small)
  • 1 dried red chili
  • [A]

    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 2 tbsp mirin
    • 3 tbsp soy sauce



Cut the daikon into 2.5-3 cm rounds, peel and cut into half-moon slices. Cut the daikon greens into 3 cm lengths. Add a pinch of salt to boiling water. Parboil the daikon greens over medium heat for about a minute and drain. Cut the ginger into thin slices. De-seed the chili.


Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the pork, and fry for a couple of minutes. Turn over and fry for two more minutes. Add the daikon, sprinkle with sake and add 400 ml of water, ginger and chili. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.


Browning the pork before simmering minimizes surface scum and enhances the aroma.


Once the daikon slices are tender, add the daikon greens and stir in [A], in the order in which the ingredients are listed. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes


Stick a bamboo skewer in the center of the daikon. If the skewer goes through without resistance, the daikon is done.


Hangetsu-giri (cutting into half-moons)

Used to cut cylindrical items into half-moon slices. Suitable for simmered dishes because the ingredients cook evenly in less time.

  1. Cut lengthwise in half.
  2. Place the halves cut-side down, and make uniform slices.

Suitable ingredients:
Carrots, daikon radish, eggplant, lotus root, etc.