Radishes come in all shapes and sizes. From the small pink and white French Breakfast radish, to the seed pods of Munchen Bier, and the colourful summer radish which are red or yellow, or Icicle radish which are small white conical shaped, and pack a punch! Then there are the winter radish like Hilds Blauer Herbst Und Winter and Black Spanish Round which are delicious in salads or on a piece of buttered bread, with a pinch of salt. But what I’m writing about today are the Mooli or Daikon.
Mooli are the monsters of the radish world. And as I’ve discovered a fantastic veggie to grow at home, they are easy to grow, tasty and versatile to cook with.
In Asian / Oriental cookery they are often used in pickles or finely shredded as a salad ingredient where they add some crunch and punch to a winter salad. And as in this recipe they are used on the Indian subcontinent as a vegetable in their own right, in curries or dry fry’s or added to stuffing for parathas (parotta). Delicious.
I first tasted a radish dry fry / curry in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu (the photo is of the Shore Temple). We found a lovely restaurant cum bookshop and what a perfect combination! We ate splendid home cooked meals of fresh fish, lemon rice, dals and yes radish curry. And yes we bought some second hand books too.
Here’s my version, it’s very simple, not too many ingredients and is very quick to cook. We’ll be eating this with a dal and some lemon rice tonight. I’ve called it a curry out of sheer convenience, really it’s a dry fry. But whatever you call it it’s delicious
Radish Curry (aka Mooli and Daikon)
- 1 large Radish (mooli or daikon), with it’s top cut off, and peeled, and thinly sliced
- The radish greens, washed and finely sliced
- 1 to 2 tblsp of vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- A pinch of asafoetida (optional)
- 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
- A handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok, when hot add the mustard and cumin seeds. when they begin to pop add the garlic and ginger and chilli (if using) and cook for a minute
- Turn the heat to medium, and add the asatofeda and turmeric, stir in well and cook for a minute
- Add the radish pieces and greens and stir in well. Cover the pan with a lid, turn to low and cook for approximately 5 minutes. the cooking times will vary depending on how fresh the radish is. The radish should be soft but still have a little bit of bite.
- Taste and see if it needs a pinch of salt
- Sprinkle the fresh coriander on top and serve.
Gardening Notes ~
I grow them in buckets or deep troughs and boxes (make sure there are some drainage holes), in a mixture of compost and sand. And I sow a few seeds in August, water them once in a while, thin them out if necessary. And hey presto, bob’s your uncle etc. They are great for winter as they withstand cool and wet weather really well. And as a bonus the leaves as well as the roots can be used in cooking.