Feb 192012


There I was in the kitchen, staring at a black radish.

I felt a little intimidated.

I’d never handled or eaten a black radish. It was so very black. Its skin was rough, almost like suede, and it looked tough to slice. I mean – black foods don’t usually scare me. If there’s anything I love to eat, it’s black beans. Why should I, who routinely joint whole raw chickens without turning a hair, feel insecure in front of a radish?

It all started with my Glazed Turnips post. In the comments, readers, especially cookbook author Faye Levy, encouraged me to cultivate the acquaintance of radishes. OK. I got fired up. Next time I took a bus out to the shuk, I made a point of getting four different kinds of radishes. Yes, you’ll be reading about all of them. But I bravely took the strangest-looking one first.

Keep it simple at first, was Faye’s advice. So I took knife to radish and cut away the root and stem parts. The moist, pearl-white interior was such a contrast to the black skin that I thought I’d peel it in stripes, just for pretty.


And I ate it three different ways. One half of it,  I cut into 1/4″ slices and sautéed in a little butter, sprinkling salt and black pepper over the slices adn turning them over as they cooked until they were tender and dappled with brown spots.


The texture was meaty, something like a steamed potato. The butter had mellowed the raw radish’s pungency, leaving a tamed radish to savor. This is something I’ll do again. I see that the radish can be dressed up with herbs, grated cheese, maybe a mild sauce – but for right now, plain buttered black radish is delicious enough for me. One tip: slice on thick side, maybe even as thick as 1/2″. The meatier, the sweeter.

The other half of the radish, I cut into matchsticks and combined with grated carrot and a vinaigrette dressing. Fresh, juicy chickweed from my windowbox added that leafiness the salad needed. I liked this robust slaw too.


I also tried a few black radish chips. Slice the root as thinly as possible, or put halves in your food processor. Bathe them in a little olive oil and sprinkle salt over them. Bake in a hot oven for about 10 minutes. Be careful – they can burn to a crisp in no time, as I found out. The unburnt, crisp, brown chips were quite tasty. Husband crunched them up and liked them too.

The local Russian population brought a traditional cough remedy made from black radishes. Grate a black radish, mix it with honey, cover, and let it sit for several hours. The grated radish will release juice. Eat the whole goopy mess or squeeze out the honeyed juice. I haven’t tried it, but I did notice that the sauteed radish activated the cough leftover from last week’s flu.

Next kitchen adventure: green and white Korean radish.

Where, I ask, will this all end? Looks like I’m converting to radish-dom. Well, in winter it seems that we crave meaty, starchy root vegetables, as in summer what we crave are leafy salads. Just let your body go with the seasons.


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  25 Responses to “Buttered Black Radish Recipe”

  1. Nice recipies.I love the green skinned radish. Some time ago I tested all the radishes with different skin colours
    I found out that the black one is harder than the others and has a very radishy flavour when raw-. But I shall have to try it cooked. And I recommend the green radish,it is even green inside and really yummy.

  2. Yum! Thank for experimenting for us. You’ve inspired me.

  3. Yael, great minds think alike. :)

    Hannah, isn’t it great how we all inspire each other? Radishes are definitely on the shopping list here from now on, thanks to reader’s comments.

  4. You must be just plain fun in the kitchen.

  5. Secret Goofiness, that’s the tip, Ruti.

  6. Thanks, Mimi, for mentioning our radish discussion. You have inspired me too, to play with some black radishes, which I don’t come across very often. The way you prepared them looks yummy, and I’d like to try it too. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with the daikon and Korean radish.

  7. Faye, I already cooked one Korean radish. It got eaten up before I could photograph it, so I went out and bought another. The first was braised in the oven with a little water, olive oil, s&p – possibly cooked too long, because the flavor was sweetish but not at all strong. I’m going to do it again and will make sure to get the photo in before I put it on the table.

  8. I’m so pleased to come across this post. I noticed black radishes at the store yesterday and on a whim, decided to pick one up, intrigued, but not quite knowing what I would do with it. I’m going to try your first preparation tonight. Looks lovely.

  9. Great, Rivki, I hope you find the radish delicious.

  10. Rivki, do let me know how your black radish dish turned out!

  11. Was searching for Black Radish and hit upon your blog. Interesting and inspiring blog, must say. Am a veggie and was searching for high alkaline food items….from what I have read so far black Radish are very healthy, highly recommended to fight against acidity and several forms of muscle, joint pains. thanks for sharing !

  12. Nittin, you’re very welcome. Enjoy browsing through Israeli Kitchen!

  13. Quite an interesting variety of radish. I am actually hosting a radish linky party at http://www.2sisters2cities.com/2012/05/fresh-produce-tuesday-week-8-radishes as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series. I would love if you submitted this recipe to help showcase all the radish varieties.


  14. Thanks for linking up!


  15. I just came upon this blog post, to my great delight, as I’m eager to try some new ways of eating black radishes. I’m the author of a children’s novel titled BLACK RADISHES (Random House 2010) about a Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied France. It might interest some of you blog readers! I didn’t know that anyone in America other than my French relatives who came here during the war ate these veggies–now I know others do!

  16. […] Cooking black radishes in this manner affords a meaty texture, something like a steamed potato. The butter mellows the raw radish’s pungency, leaving a tamed radish to savour.  Via Isreali Kitchen […]

  17. Every holiday we must have black radish to eat with the chicken soup–it has become a tradition that makes the celebration complete. Introducing it to new skeptical family members wonderfully expands the memories of my Russian heritage.

  18. Thanks for sharing those family memories, Joe. Happy Pesach!

  19. […] out this blog post from Israeli Kitchen which three great ways to prepare black radishes, including this very simple […]

  20. I bought black radish seeds last fall at Shakertown Village in Harrodsburg, KY. I planted them over a month ago. The green tops are huge. I don’t think they are ready to pull yet. It will be interesting to taste them and even cook with black radishes. This is my first time growing this type of radish. I’m excited to see them when they are ready to harvest.

  21. Lucky you, Kathy, to have a garden where you can plant vegetables! Enjoy your black radishes when you harvest them, and let me know if you liked them buttered, as in this recipe.

  22. […] Buttered Black Radish from Israeli Kitchen […]

  23. […] Buttered Black Radish: Israeli Kitchen […]

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