Daikon is a radish, Raphanus sativus, a member of the extensive mustard family, related to broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Its peppery leaves are sometimes stir-fried with other greens, and the sprouts occasionally turn up in salads, but it is the root, covered with a very thin pearly skin, slightly less white than the snowy inside, that has long been treasured throughout the Far East, albeit in different ways in different countries. In China, where daikon was first cultivated (the oldest reference dates to the seventh century B.C.), it is thicker than the Japanese variety and hardly ever eaten raw. Instead, it is chopped and added to stews and soups, or mashed fine, mixed with flour and pork, shaped into small patties, and steamed. In Korea, it is rounder and usually pickled for kimchi, the pungent condiment found on virtually every Korean table. The name daikon originated in Japan (the character dai means "great"; kon means "root"), where it is the country's fundamental vegetable—and as for ways of cooking it, anything goes.