Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Radish as Comfort Food

It's a sambar...it's a rasam...it's a dal with features of both; a totally inauthentic recipe but so tasty that you should try it anyway.

I owe a great debt to food bloggers- really I do. It is very nice to learn how to make impressive desserts and elaborate dishes for special occasions. But the coolest thing is when blogs teach me fresh new ideas for everyday meals and different ways to cook the same ol' vegetables that end up in my crisper week after week.

Radishes were mainly a salad vegetable in my life until a few years ago when I noticed wonderful ways to cook them into a main dish here on Mahanandi and here on Aayi's recipes. Over the years, this radish dal has evolved in my kitchen based on those recipes and remains one of the greatest hits on the dinner rotation.

The trick here is to work quickly and not let the dal simmer for too long. You will be rewarded with radishes that are cooked long enough to soak up all the delicious flavors but that remain juicy enough to make every bite a treat.

Radish Dal 

1. Cook 12 cup toor dal and set it aside.

2. Start with the tempering
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch asafetida
  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
3. Add 1 large bunch red radishes, sliced into coins or half moons. If the radish greens are attached to the bunch and if they look fresh, chop up the greens and add them too. White radish (daikon) will work perfectly well here too.

4. Add the spices:
  • 12 tsp. turmeric
  • 12 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1-2 tsp. of your favorite rasam or sambar powder
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • Salt to taste
5. Stir for a minute, then add 1 cup water and let the radishes cook for 3-4 minutes.

6. Add the cooked toor dal and more water if needed and simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Taste and make sure the balance of salt, spice and tangy flavors is just right. Let the dal sit for at least 20 minutes before serving and serve over freshly steamed rice.

I finally got around to making ghee at home, and a dollop of this home made ghee transforms dal-rice into something even more special. The picture shows what little was left after V and I finished eating.

Please check back on Monday night for the round up of Blog Bites 8, where it is all about one dish meals. Entries will be welcomed all weekend. I'll include my own entry in that post.

Have a great weekend, all!

16 comments:

  1. Dal with radish looks absolutely wonderful..yumm..

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  2. dal with radish looks yum,..happy weekend

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  3. This is my aaji's favorite.. She makes it a little differently though using only about cupful of quartered white radish fried for sometime in the usual tadka..it's later cooked with some water with a lid on.. Then she adds cooked tuvar dal and gool, imli, chilli powder and dhana-jeeru powder. Lots of coriander to garnish. This version tastes awesome too.

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  4. This looks awesome Nupur! I just picked up red radishes from the famer's market for a salad, but will now be trying out the daal instead. :)

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  5. This is one of my common way to use up radish. Radish flavors come out well with dal.

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  6. Hi nupur,
    This is such a comfort food during rainy days.. This v call it has thani( means water) sambar.. My hubby lovs this

    Devi

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  7. It is a nice idea to add radish to dal and make the dal a little special dish.

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  8. this used to be on our hostel lunch menu on fridays with potato roast... i love radish in sambhar/dal cos i cant eat it raw and i dont like it in sabzi. but i am told it has a lot of nutritional value, so is a good addition to the diet

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  9. This dal is very unusual! Will have to make it to get a taste. Good to see this post. Reminded me that 25th was just around the corner! :)

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  10. this is a unique preparation indeed. never ate radishes like this, but cant wait to try now!

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  11. Dal with radish is new to me..looks very good!!

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  12. Hi,
    My mum puts chunks of ("moola" in Marathi) white radish in "daliche sambare" with coconut, tempered with mustard seeds, green chillies, perfect in the monsoons with roasted papads. She also makes a bhaaji with white radish and the leaves.
    I use it when I make couscous, instead of or with zucchini, and carrots, turnips etc.
    Cheers
    Ujwala

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  13. Hello, There is a surprise waiting for you at my place!

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  14. Priya- Thanks!

    notyet100- Thank you!

    Gauri- Thank you so much for sharing your aji's version. I tried it last week and oh my, it is absolutely delicious. Now I have two tasty versions of this dish thanks to you.

    Pal- Yes, I alternate between dal and raita with radishes :)

    Kanchan- I agree, they go together very well.

    Devi- Yes, very comforting.

    Madhu- Thanks

    arundati- Oh potato roast would be the perfect addition to a meal, I agree. Your hostel treated you well :)

    SS- Do try it, it might become a favorite :)

    PJ- Try it, I think you'll like it!

    Vandana- Thanks!

    Ujwala- Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    Preeti-Thanks so much- very sweet of you!

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  15. I make a similar preparation, without the dal, but I add jaggery. Slurp!

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  16. Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie looks really inteeresting!!! would soon be asking some advice :) keep goin loved your blog..

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