A post at Beyond Curries beckoned me back into the world of blogging and to start my third year. On 14th, TT (Tongue Ticklers) turned two. Thank you readers and subscribers, for being here all this time. Your comments, thoughts and suggestions have aided me a lot in becoming a better and more adventurous cook and a better person but it is your subscriptions of course that have kept me grinning through 2009 each time I looked at my feed. The spam mails have taught me a great deal of patience too(GRRRR………)! The highlight of January was Rajani’s article on my blog in Femina.in. The timing could not have been better as TT turned two (Such a nice alliteration. Don’t you think?). Thanks, Rajani!
We came back, rested, rejuvenated and gung-ho about even mundane stuff after a short trip to Bangalore in the last week of January. Excessive spirit (this is a food blog but I refer to the the non-alcoholic kind of spirit like joy!) sometimes can tire one out, I find! Since then upto a week back I was busy seeing the ‘get-together’ pictures over and over again, re-living those memories. Busier than I have ever been traveling, cooking or reading! Living happy amongst family, friends and books works like a wonderful drug and the funny thing is that you don’t have to spend much being happy (BTW, books don’t come free). All you need to do is ‘spread some sun’ and – as the cliche goes – the warmth will always find its way of getting back to you.
Winter left early and Spring has already set the beat to the start of a sunny Summer as many colourful vegetables start gracing our markets. My kitchen sees a ‘stir-fry marathon’ at this time of the year. Tender clean vegetables get scrubbed, snipped and dunked in a pool of clear water, drained and patted dry at top speed (I return home just in time for dinner so its got to be fast). The wide wok is heated with some oil, seasoned with aromatic spices and here’s where actual skill comes into play. You must add a pinch of salt to let the juices ooze, and a hint of oil if needed, cover and cook, check now and then lest the vegetables lose their shape and then keep stirring and frying till they are just done to your liking. You could go the easier way and just add more oil in the beginning but this way you really save a lot of unnecessary fat. Adjust seasonings and there you go – the quickest, tastiest and easiest way to health.
Some months back I noticed bright green beans that were very thin, long and rat-tailed – at least that’s what I assumed they were till I picked a bunch and smelt them. It was different and new to me. I asked the ‘thela-waala’ what they were and he replied ‘moolachya shenga‘. My knowledge of Marathi is pretty basic so I understood they were something to do with mooli or radishes. I asked him how I should use it and he was the one who suggested that I just stir-fry it with some potatoes (what else?!). I liked the flavour so I bought a thick bunch and took a photograph. The stir fry was so good that I did not have much left for a picture. Since then ‘pod radishes’ or ‘java radishes’ or ‘aerial radishes’ have gone and joined my list ‘love at first taste’ items. So many names – you pick your favourite name for it!
Yesterday I spied them again and could not resist picking up a bunch. Today we stir-fried and had them for lunch. This time I also made it a point to take pictures before we consumed them.
The taste is not meant for the conservative or conventional cook. It has the flavour of radish and the slight tinge of pungency characteristic of the vegetable itself. If you like radish I am sure you will love its shenga too (the stem of radish). In Hindi it is called ‘moongre’. The dish itself is a simple, everyday one, not to be found in any restaurant.
Try making it – it is worth a tale, a recipe and a post for itself!
The recipe? Here it is!
Dish: Moolachya shenga chi bhaji
Translated as: Pod radish stir fry, Potato and Pod Radish stir fry
Categories: Side dishes, Main Course, Stir-fries, Indian
Time: 10-15 minutes if the pod radishes are very tender
Yield: Serves three good eaters
Pod Radishes / Aerial Radishes / Moongre /Moolachyashenga – 250g
Medium sized potatoes – 2
Cumin seeds /jeera – 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder /Haldi – 1/2 tsp.
Red Chilli powder / Kuti lal mirch – 1 tsp. (As per taste)
Oil – 2 tbsp.
Chop or snip pod radishes into inch long pieces.
Peel and chop potatoes lengthwise into fry sized wedges.
Place both the vegetables in separate colanders. Rinse and set aside to drain.
Meanwhile heat a wide wok with the oil. Splutter cumin seeds when hot and add the potatoes. Add a hint of salt. Stir fry for two minutes. Cover and cook till potatoes sweat a little and are half cooked. Check often and stir if needed so that the vegetable is not burnt.
Add the drained pod radishes. Add a little more salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Stir for two minutes to mix the vegetables. Cover and cook till potatoes are done but firm and pod radishes are softer but still retain a bite.
Mix lightly and serve with rotis or rasam and rice.
Tip: Do not use pod radishes that are not tender. They turn stiff.