Wednesday, May 16, 2007

D is for a dearth of vegetables

D is a blighted letter; death, divorce, danger, distress. Whoever handed out the names for vegetables in the English language felt uneasy about the letter D. Whilst its neighbour C has a cornucopia of vegetables, D stands out as a dunce. There is a dearth of D vegetables and I hope this is where all of you out there in the worldwide web will help us out.

All my hopes rest on Daikon, a Japanese radish. It realises its value to the letter D and can consequently grow up to 3 feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds. (No doubt to make up for the lack of companions)Finding one presents Freddie and I with several challenges. We will clearly have to hire a forklift truck to carry it home through the streets of London and then won't know what to do with it when we get there.


  1. How about Dandelion leaves

  2. A quick flick through the usually reliable Gastronomique has brought nothing I'm afraid. You are right, the only D appears to be this Japanese radish. Oh no! D may need to be a forfeit!


  3. TopVeg10:26 AM

    D is for dried peas, but I don't think we should tell Freddie that. Not a good idea to introduce dried peas when he is getting on so well with veg!

  4. GreatBig Veg Challenge12:10 PM

    David - of course you are a ray of sunlight in the world of D.

    I have one problem with dandelions - should I really be eating them from a London park or between the paving stones coated in lead fumes and diesel dust?
    There is no country idyll for me nearby. And I havent seen them in the market...

  5. Here are a couple of links for you and Freddie. Pick the greens from the park and rinse them well. Saute with olive oil, salt and pepper with a squeeze of lemon juice after cooking. Freddie may not like to well, they are bitter.

    Dandelion greens:

    I don't think these would be a good choice!! Something interesting to read though. Who would even try to eat this stuff??

    Dolichos Bean:

  6. Aha! Yes I once thought so too, re, the Dearth of D. But like you, Freddie's Mum, I'm creative and suggest DINOSAUR kale (perfect, yes?!!!) and (oops, out of season) DELICATA squash. Or perhaps there's inspiration in flexing the interpration of D, as happens in One Hot Stove's own Alphabet of Vegetables project, here, the Letter D. Good luck! We all know D will be a special challenge but of course, you're UP to it!

  7. seeing as we can't miss out D... I trawled through the online Cooks Thesaurus and found the following:

    Dock: sorrel = rosella = sour grass = dock = sour dock Pronunciation: SORE-uhl Notes: This sour herb is quite popular in France. They like to cook it briefly and make a purée out of it, which they ladle over eggs, fish, meat, and other dishes. It can also be served raw in salads. Substitutes: spinach + lemon zest OR arugula

    Dasheen: taro = taro root = dasheen = coco = cocoyam = eddo = Japanese potato = baddo = elephant's ear = old cocoyam = sato-imo Pronunciation: TAHR-oh Notes: If you've sampled poi at a Hawaiian luau, then you're already familiar with taro. Many people don't think much of poi, but taro can be served far more advantageously. It has an interesting, nutty flavor, and it's quite good in stews or soups, or deep-fat fried or roasted. In its raw state, it can be toxic and harsh on the skin, so wear gloves or oil your hands when handling it, and always cook it before serving it. Substitutes: malanga OR parsnip OR sweet potato OR yam OR new potatoes (pic here:

    daikon sprouts: daikon sprouts = kaiware = radish sprouts = tsumamina = clover radish Notes: These have a pungent, peppery flavor that works wonders for otherwise bland salads and sandwiches. They're too delicate to cook, so always serve them raw. Substitutes: onion sprouts (pic here:

    delicata squash: delicata squash = sweet potato squash = Bohemian squash Pronunciation: de-lee-CAH-tuh Notes: This is one of the tastier winter squashes, with creamy pulp that tastes a bit like sweet potatoes. Choose squash that are heavy for their size. Substitutes: butternut squash OR buttercup squash OR sweet potato (pic here:

    Dutch chili: Holland chile = Dutch chile Substitutes: fresh cayenne pepper OR Fresno chile (pic here:

    all these can be found by searching this site:

    hope that helps (and sorry for the long message) - some of them are more obscure but since you're in the big smoke, you may have luck finding them in an oriental supermarket..

  8. What about using dill as the main flavouring to a dish!

  9. Anonymous3:51 PM

    Just incase my e-mail hasn't come through, if you e-mail your address to

    I'll pick you some fresh Cheshire dandilion from the farm field on Monday:-)

  10. Anonymous5:00 PM

    Delicata squash are one of my favorites. It is usually in season in November/December. Perhaps you could postpone D and come back to it? I usually roast it, and toss it in orange juice, butter, brown sugar, orange rind, and chopped rosemary.

    The secret to daikon radish: don't buy fresh, buy it pickled from an
    Asian grocery store. It is used in sushi.

    --Jen M. from Seattle

  11. What about dal? Are lentils vegetables?

  12. Could you do a couscous type thing with dates? Not strictly a veg, but a savoury dish nevertheless.

  13. shonagon3:25 PM

    Hi. Great blog & a fab project! Another 'D' vegetable for you..... Drumsticks (yup, really).We ate them a lot during our trips to South India, they're very innocuous tasting but have a lovely texture - great in Sambhars or simply stir fried with mustard seeds & toasted coconut or any other spice.Wouldn't need to be 'hot' either.I've seen them in better stocked Indian grocery stores but they can also be bought online...we often use this company for 'ethnic' veg as it always arrives spankingly fresh.Heres a link
    I also see that they sell 'Dudhi' too! Would love to hear what Freddie & Alex make of these chaps.
    Regards, Susan.

  14. great big veg challenge7:28 PM

    Susan - thanks for those ideas. I will search. Drumsticks sound good.

    Mrs Frog, I have toyed with Dates but think we should be true to vegetables!
    And Mollyjade, dhal is lentils I think which are strictly speaking pulses but I will try them when we reach L.
    Kethry - thank you so much for that information - much appreciated. I am learning a great deal about vegetables in this challenge and Freddie is too!

  15. If you're thinking about trying a dock/sorrel recipe then I just posted a fantastic one on my blog - sorrel & scrambled egg - it's about to become one of my favourite quick, tasty, simple meals. Definitely worth trying if you can track some sorrel down.

  16. Anonymous5:43 AM


    D can be for drumstick.Its available in Indian grocery stores and tastes good. The leaves are highly nutritious. In US we get it from the frozen section.



  17. Anonymous5:53 AM


    These are few links with recipes made using drumstick.

    You can see the picture of the veggie here

    If you search for drumstick food blogs, you will get to see mnay recipes with drumstick. I hope you have fun going thur these Indian food blogs.

    You have a very interesting blog



  18. Sticks, the only online and is able to buy the best, I enjoyed my trip to India!
    Well Daykon not detract from, which I also personally love it.


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