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[Photograph: Frances Janisch]

Hiroko Shimbo's braised daikon recipe is one of the few strictly Japanese recipes in her new cookbook, Hiroko's American Kitchen. The dish is a simple appetizer of daikon "slowly bathed" in kelp stock and topped with Shimbo's spicy miso sauce. The sauce—a blend of aged miso, sugar, mirin, sake, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes—provides rich, tangy contrast to the subtle, earthy flavor of daikon.

Why I picked this recipe: I'd never thought to braise a hulking daikon radish; but given its size and density, this technique makes perfect sense.

What worked: Gently braising daikon renders it tender and subtly sweet, a perfect foil to the salty and spicy miso sauce.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: I'd be interested to try this braising technique with other types of radishes. The presentation won't be quite as dramatic, but the balance of flavors and textures would still rock. If you decide to play with different radishes, you will need to shorten both of the cooking times—remember, you want the radish to be tender but not turned to mush.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Hiroko's American Kitchen to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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