The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) that is on the boarder of North and South Korea boasts some of the richest farmland in the world. While visiting that part of South Korea, I was struck with the contrast of constant and intimidating military presence and the peaceful and friendly nature of the farmers that live and work there. Everyone I met greeted me with a smile and a gift of delicious food that they had grown and are very proud of. This simple dish of poached daikon with kimchi broth reminds me of their hospitality and is an homage to their peaceful and hopeful spirit.
In a medium saucepot, heat the chicken stock over medium-high heat. Peel the daikon, trim the ends and cut into half or thirds to create round chunks that will fit in the saucepot. Place the daikon in the stock and season with ½ teaspoon of salt. Lower the heat and cook the daikon for 20-30 minutes at a very slow simmer until it is tender, but has a slight resistance when poked with a metal skewer or the point of a knife.
While the daikon is cooking, slice the radishes and the green part of the scallion very thinly and immediately place in a bowl of cold water. Remove the daikon from the chicken stock and set aside. Add the cilantro to the stock and simmer for 1 minute, just to flavor the stock. Strain the stock into another pot and add the soy sauce keeping the stock warm.
Strain the kimchi over a bowl to reserve the juice. Chop the kimchi into bite sized pieces and set aside.
Slice the daikon into 1/3-inch thick rounds and arrange them in a ring around the bottom of 4 shallow rimmed bowls. Place about ¼ cup of the chopped kimchi in the middle of each ring made from the sliced daikon. Garnish the top of the kimchi with slices of radish and the scallions. Gently pour the hot broth into the bowls just to barely cover the daikon. Sprinkle a little of the reserved kimchi juice over the daikon and serve immediately.
2 quarts chicken stock
2 large daikon
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (small stems are ok)
1 ¼ cup kimchi
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Fine sea salt