The vegetable & fruit aisle of my local supermarket looks extra colourful during summers. With its fresh produce of colourful root vegetables nestled along with green leaves and other staples make it look vibrant and inviting. When you are under forced 'house arrest', and in a sedentary mode, somehow the mind starts gravitating towards eating something fresh and wholesome.
One of these veggies that I gravitated towards was the bright red/fuchsia coloured, cute looking radishes. This variety is a summer cultivar in England and are crunchy, peppery, and juicy.
Unlike the winter mooli/moola/mulo that we get back home in India, these are less pungent. On a normal day, I would add it to a salad to get that extra crunch and kick, but this recipe is an adapted version of a Bengali Mulo Chechki or ghonto. A quick phone call to MIL across seven seas and exchange of few precious notes on the recipe and style of cooking, along came this simple yet enjoyable dish. As these are smaller and softer than a mooli, instead of grating I decided to cut them into 1" size matchsticks and added potatoes, cut in a similar manner.
My mum has green fingers and growing up we've always seen her pottering about either in the kitchen garden at the back or the flower patch in the front garden. We've always had seasonal fruits and vegetables from our own backyard. Till date she has that magic and both Ma and Pa still enjoy the kitchen garden to kitchen table concept back home! Love it when Pa lovingly clicks photos of Ma's produce and sends it to his 3 daughters via WhatsApp! And Pa too is becoming deft at photography nowadays.
Reason why Ma's kitchen garden came into this conversation is because, I spoke to her over the phone after lunch, and talked about having this radish aloo preparation. She reminded me of how as kids, we didn't fancy eating radishes and always found ways to stop her from cooking them! Ma was surprised that we get them here in summer. We always knew mooli as a winter vegetable. See, one never stops learning!
Well coming back to the recipe of this delectable dish, I have tried to be as correct as possible but most of my measurements are approx. Well to be honest, this isn't like baking where everything needs to be in correct ratio/proportion, so if you ever feel like following this recipe, you may add custom measured spices to your liking too. Or if you are a seasoned cook , you may try, just as 'Papa Kadam' of the film did in 'The Hundred Foot Journey' - "a little bit of this and a little bit of that; a pinch of this and a pinch of that..." ;-)
Prep time 10mins
Cook time 20mins
500g radish, cut into 1inch long, thin matchsticks
1medium potato, cut into 1 inch long, thin matchsticks
2tsp cumin seeds
2dry red chillies
1/2tsp of sugar
pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
1tbsp vegetable oil
Heat oil in a saute pan on a medium flame and add a pinch of asafoetida.
Add all the dry whole spices and once they crackle, add turmeric powder, stir for few seconds.
Tip in the cut veggies and mix well with the spices.
Add sugar and salt, mix well. Cover and cook on a low flame.
Stir in between and cover and cook till nearly done.
About 5 minutes before finishing cook uncovered to remove any excess moisture, the dish should be dry or makha makha as said in Bengali.
Serve hot with rice or roti. :-)