Friday, November 20, 2009
Return Of The Pumpkin Part 2...The Rise Of Mooli!
When cooking, I always get a kick out of using vegetables that we here in the States seem to envision as mere garnishes, oddballs or "what the heck do you do with those things??" Every time I go to the Farmers Market or our local Sonoma Market, I breeze past the carrots and green beans and go hunting for something unusual. A different flavor that will pop on the plate and elevate a vegetable side to something special.
I'd been meaning to cook with Daikon radish otherwise known as Mooli for a long time. it's sort of like people who say they're going to read War And Peace this summer, they never seem to get around to it. Well, I finally got around to Daikon and I'm glad I did.
Don't get me wrong here, it's not like I've never eaten Daikon radish. I have. It's just that like I've done with most radishes, I've only eaten them raw..not cooked.
I've been discovering the pleasures of cooked radishes lately and they are a revelation!
The Daikon opportunity arose mainly because after cutting up my little Sugar Pie pumpkin and making a lunch of it, I had plenty left over and was looking for something to mix with it. The perfect opportunity to try a Daikon.
I'd had a recipe for a long time; it had been in one of the first Indian cookbooks I'd ever had, Yamuna Devis' Lord Krishnas' Cuisine.
Mooli are crisp and spicy and make a great contrast with the sweet flavor of pumpkin. When you look for them in the market they're pretty big. I used about 1/4 of a large Mooli for this dish. I took my mooli peeled it and sliced it in rounds which I then halved, I mixed it with about 1/2 pound of pumpkin and wound up with a dish that serves about 6 as a side.
Here's what to do with your Mooli.
In a deep skillet or Karhai :
1.) Heat about 2 Tbs of vegetable oil.
When it's hot toss in:
2.) 1 tsp of finely minced ginger
3.) 1 tsp of cumin seed
4.) 1/2 tsp of mustard seed
5.) 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seed
Stir it till the fenugreek seeds darken then toss in
6.) 8 curry leaves, fresh or frozen and then
7.) Add you sliced and halved daikon radish pieces. Stir fry them until they start to brown a bit.
Add in your pumpkin.
Stir it up and then...
8.) Toss in 1/2 cup of peas, fresh or fronzen
9.) 1/4 tsp of Kashmiri chili ...or 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper, 1/8 tsp of paprika
10.) 1 tsp of turmeric
11.) 2 tsp of ground coriander and finally...
12.) 1/4 cup of water
Cover your pot and lower the heat cook till your pumpkin is done about 20 to 30 minutes.
When your Mooli has been subdued and the pumpkin is nice and tender sprinkle
13.) 3 Tbs of chopped fresh cilantro over it all and stir in
14.) 1/2 teaspoon of amchoor powder ( which is dried green mango powder) ..or if you don't have that 2 Tbs of lemon juice.
15.) 1 tsp of salt
What you will have is a great dish of fork-tender pumpkin nestled against spicy Daikon radish. This dish can be made with traditional red radishes also, and I'll soon be adding another hot (as in cooked) radish side dish.
It's truly amazing how one mans' garnish is another mans' side dish, but that's the miracle of experimenting. So never pass by an unusual vegetable. And you also might want to dip into War And Peace one of these days. You won't regret it.