Food Forum
Vol. 36 No. 3   Autumn 2022

FUNDAMENTALS 101

Parboiling
Daikon and Pork

Parboiling is a basic food preparation technique in Japanese cooking, intended to elicit clean flavors and remove unsavory smells from ingredients. In this second article on parboiling, we focus on daikon and pork. Parboiling removes the distinctive smell of daikon and helps it absorb flavor; parboiling pork not only eliminates its gamy smell, but extracts aku and excess fat as well.

Daikon

1. Take a daikon roughly 12 cm / 5 in. diameter. Cut it 20 cm / 8 in. in length, and then into lengthwise quarters. Thickly peel skin*, then cut into random wedges.

2. Place the wedges in a pot and add just enough rice water** to cover; bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for about 15 minutes until daikon is soft and easily pierced with a skewer, as shown below.

3. Remove from heat, rinse daikon with cold water and pat dry.

* The remaining daikon peels can be thinly sliced and sautéed to make kimpira dishes or pickled to make Japanese tsukemono.
** Water used to rinse rice prior to cooking. If rice water is unavailable, plain water may be substituted.

Pork shoulder

1. Cut pork shoulder into bite-size pieces.

2. Place pork and a few slices of ginger in a pot, adding just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and drain. Rinse the meat with cold water and pat dry.

Parboiled daikon and pork simmered in dashi, soy sauce and other seasonings