Nobody embodies the multicultural food landscape of L.A. quite like Nyesha Arrington—a chef who learned how to make kimchi at the age of five from her Korean grandmother, worked under culinary titans like Joël Robuchon and earned a slew of accolades before bringing it all together at Native, her fittingly named ode to the city.
These skewers, which are named after her grandmother, are a surefire way to surprise your barbecue guests this summer. No one will miss the meat after biting into the thick daikon cubes, flavored to their core with a soy-based sauce specked with Korean chile flakes and sesame seeds.
Grilled Daikon Skewers with Aisoon Sauce
Recipe adapted from Nyesha Arrington, Native, Los Angeles, CA
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
For the Daikon:
1 large daikon radish, peeled (roughly 2 pounds)
2 quarts dashi
1 ounce ginger, cut into slices
1½ cups sake
1½ cups mirin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon usukuchi soy sauce (or amber soy sauce)
1 cup bonito flakes (wrapped and tied up in cheesecloth)
For the Aisoon Sauce:
5 garlic cloves
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons Korean chile flakes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons crushed toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon oil
1. Cut the peeled radish into 1-inch-thick pieces. In a large-sized saucepan, add the daikon and cover with water. The water should be roughly 2 inches over the radish. Bring the pot to a boil then lower to a simmer for about 5 minutes, until the daikon is almost fork tender but is still tight in the middle. Remove from the heat, strain and set the radish aside.
2. Return the daikon to the saucepan and add the dashi, ginger, sake, mirin, salt and soy sauce. Place the bag of bonito flakes on top. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Place a lid that is slightly smaller than the pot on top of the ingredients to keep them contained. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the daikon from the liquid and set aside. You may reserve the liquid for soup.
3. Make the sauce: Place the garlic in a small saucepan. Cover with roughly 2 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, strain. Repeat this step 2 more times. With a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic into a fine paste and place it in a medium bowl. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and whisk to combine, until the sugar is dissolved.
4. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat or set up a grill pan. Cut each radish piece into quarters and skewer onto a metal or wooden skewer. Brush the Aisoon sauce over the skewers. Grill the skewers while basting every couple of minutes with the sauce, roughly 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until caramelized and lightly charred. Repeat basting as they're cooking. Serve immediately.