What is Mooli?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Mooli is a form of giant radish that is also known as daikon. This name is the Korean word for this popular East Asian root vegetable, which is used in the cuisine of many nations. People can eat it in both raw and cooked form, and it is suitable in a dizzying array of dishes from salads to stir fries. Mooli is also included in kimchi, a famous Korean pickled food.

Mooli is a large white radish also known as daikon.
Mooli is a large white radish also known as daikon.

This giant radish is more formally known as Raphanus sativus. The root can get quite large, and it is snow white in color, with a flavor much milder than that of other radishes. A well cultivated one is crunchy with a faint peppery bite, and it looks rather like an overgrown carrot when it is whole, although the leaves and stems more closely resemble that of a radish.

Raw mooli is used in fresh salads.
Raw mooli is used in fresh salads.

Raw, mooli makes a great addition to vegetable platters and salads. In parts of Asia, it is carved into fanciful shapes and used as an edible garnish. Some people enjoy eating this radish out of hand, especially in regions where people believe that it has potential health benefits. Its mild flavor makes it suitable for younger consumers who might not find the sharp bite of smaller radishes terribly appealing; mooli can be added to lunchboxes for a snack, for example, or added to salads for younger eaters to create some texture without introducing an unwanted flavor.

Mooli can be used to impart a peppery flavor to many Asian soups and stir-fry dishes.
Mooli can be used to impart a peppery flavor to many Asian soups and stir-fry dishes.

Cooked, mooli can be used in a wide assortment of dishes. It is often included in soups and stir fries, for example, and it can also be shredded or grated and served on top of foods like stir fried vegetables. The radish is also commonly used in Indian cuisine, especially in curries or as a filling for vegetarian stuffed breads. It is also served in pickled form in a number of Asian nations.

People who want to grow mooli at home should select a well drained, sunny spot in the garden in the early spring. It can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked, in regions where frost limits the growing season, and it can potentially be sown into the late spring. As the radishes grow, gardeners should keep them moist but not soggy, and periodically thin the sprouts to allow the roots to mature. After 30 to 60 days, a cook can harvest the radishes and store them in a root cellar or use them in various cooked dishes. Chefs should be aware that extremely large radishes can get bitter; this is also the case with radishes that are exposed to light as they grow, so gardeners should consider mulching the plants to avoid exposing the roots to sunlight.

Mooli is suitable for use in salads.
Mooli is suitable for use in salads.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Nice article. I was looking for tips for eating them, so thank you. I bought some seeds and sowed them per direction eight days ago, they broke the soil surface after four days and they're already 2" tall. I can't wait to try them in a couple of months or so.


I just bought mooli in Tesco in Gravesend.


Heads up, folks. I bought mooli at Morrison's supermarket in Inverness.


I bought a mooli on Saturday from our local market in Guisborough, North Yorkshire. It is the first time I have ever seen one.


My mom used to make all kinds of parathas or stuffed flat breads when I was a kid. Potato parathas, ground beef parathas, paratha with fenugreek leaves. My favorite though were radish parathas made with mooli.

She would grate and spice up the mooli with chillies, masala and cumin and stuff her handmade flat bread dough with it. The best part was pouring butter on top after they cooked. It was so good! I make them now myself, but nothing compares to a mother's cooking.


I have acid reflux and there are only a few vegetables I can have raw that will not cause acid and discomfort for me. Mooli is one of them. I can't have other radishes because they are just too bitter. So I've started having mooli instead. I make salads with it or just have it raw. It's a good way for me to have some vegetable in my diet without regretting it later.

It can be a little difficult to find. I get mine from Asian stores and some organic stores carry it as well.

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