Just a tiny bit so you can barely taste it (this is important)
4 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon to finish
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 tablespoons to finish
Sugar (brown sugar)
3 heaping teaspoons
Sake (use real sake, not cooking sake)
These are the ingredients.
So to start... the daikon radish. Start cooking it in cold water. Whenever you cook any root vegetables including daikon radish, always start from cold water. Cover with a lid.
Don't refresh the daikon radish in cold water after they have been cooked until tender. Leave to cool in the cooking liquid. This is the key to keeping them juicy.
Wash the chicken wings well. If you look at them closely, you'll see some feather ends left in there. Let's pull them out.
Ginger and garlic. You know that you should add ginger right? Ginger, chicken and sweet-salty flavors go together so well after all. Just add a smidgen of garlic.
OK Let's start simmering. Use a large wide pot so that the ingredients overlap as little as possible on the bottom. Put the flavoring ingredients plus about 2 cups plus (400 ml) of water in the pot.
Start cooking over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil, then throw in the chicken wings. (work quickly from now on).
Put the daikon radishes pieces in a single layer, cover with a small lid or a piece of aluminium foil that sits right on top of the pot contents (otoshibuta or drop lid). Turn the heat down to medium and cook for about 5 minutes.
Take the lid off and add the ginger and garlic. If you add them at the start the taste will be a bit harsh. Replace the lid, and cover the pot with a regular lid.
Keep simmering over medium heat. The liquid will bubble up under the drop lid, and the ingredients will cook in the bubbles, so don't turn the heat down too low.
Since the chicken wings cook quickly, and the daikon radish is precooked, it takes less than 10 minutes for the simmering to be done.
The liquid will start reducing right away. When everything has a nice color, let's finish up. Add the additional mirin (1 1/2 tablespoons) and soy sauce (1 tablespoon), take the lid off and turn the heat up to high!
Since there's sugar in the cooking liquid, once you raise the heat up it will caramelize and thicken fast. Keep cooking until the bubbles are quite big (indicating that the liquid is pretty concentrated).
Shake and swirl the pan from left to right and side to side to coat all the ingredients with the sticky sauce Toss to turn over the ingredients 1-2 times. Coat everything very well.
Can you see that the daikon radish is just brown on the surface? By simmering them quickly, both the chicken and the daikon radish retain their natural flavor and juiciness.
Story Behind this Recipe
The daikon radish in this simmered dish is so tender you don't have to chew it at all . They don't fall apart a bit even though the sharp edges aren't cut off. The ingredients are cooked in a large pan in a single layer, with the components overlapping as little as possible. And you don't stir it and fiddle with it while it's simmering. The key is to cook everything in the bubbles.
You don't want to taste or smell the garlic at all. It's not added for that really. It's added for richness, and to counteract the gaminess of the chicken. Whenever you think that a dish needs more richness, try adding a tiny bit of garlic. It will add that richness you want. Only add a tiny bit, not enough to taste the garlic.